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Full text of "Massasoit of the Wampanoags; with a brief commentary on Indian character; and sketches of other great chiefs, tribes and nations; also a chapter on Samoset, Squanto and Hobamock, three early native friends of the Plymouth colonists"

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Cornell University Library 
E g9.W2M41 
Massasoit of the Wampanoags; w^^^^^ 

3 1924 009 709 373 

B Cornell University 
y Library 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 

IIW Mmnt 




In token of its appreciation of a contribution to the 
fund for the erection at Plymouth, Massachusetts, of a 
memorial to Massasoit. 

Boston, Mass., 1919 
















1^ •; 







TiV the summer of 1910, while serving as 
-"- Great Sachem of the Improved Order of Red 
Men of Massachusetts, I had occasion to accom- 
pany my Deputy Great Sachem for the Plymouth 
District and a party of Great Chiefs and mem- 
bers of the order with their families and friends, 
on a visitation to the tribe located in that old his- 
toric town. Our official duties performed, we 
visited the many places of particular interest, 
the spots especially consecrated to Freedom by 
the restless energy of the men of three centuries 

We saw the beautiful memorial erected to the 
Pilgrims, and the memorable rock which their 
feet first pressed on December 21, 1620; we 
climbed the hill to view the spot where so many 
of them were laid at rest during their first winter 
of hardship and suffering, and where later the 
ashes of many more were mingled with the dust; 
we stood on the summit of Cole's Hill from 
which we looked out upon, the harbor where the 
Mayflower once lay at anchor; we saw the relics 
of bygone days, exhibited in the Memorial Hall, 



and traversed the same old streets laid out by the 

Many of us had seen it all before, while for 
others it was the first visit; but, whether for the 
first time, or to view again and again the old his- 
toric spots, the real landmarks of the birthplace 
of free government, as exemplified by nearly 
three hundred years of colonial and national life, 
the patriotic interest and enthusiasm of all alike 
was thoroughly aroused. 

A bronze tablet on a house on Leyden Street, 
marking the spot where, on March 22, 1621, 
Massasoit and Governor Carver entered into a 
treaty of peace, friendship and mutual aid and 
protection, attracted our attention. I had seen it 
many times before, but it seemed fraught with a 
new significance on that occasion. Whether the 
mental association of the name of our order with 
the aborigines, or that of my official designation 
with that of the great chief of the Wampanoags 
contributed to the thought, I cannot say; but for 
some reason the suggestion came to my mind that 
in 1920 the people of Massachusetts undoubtedly 
would celebrate in fitting manner the third cen- 
tenary of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers. 
In my report at the conclusion of my term in the 
Great Chieftaincy, I brought this matter to the 
attention of the Great Council with a recommen- 
dation that steps be taken towards erecting, in 
connection with the celebration of this Centen^ 


nidi, a monument or other memorial to Massa- 
soit, Great Sachem of the Wampanoags, who for 
forty years religiously observed both the spirit 
and the letter of the treaty he had made with the 
colonists, and urged his sons to maintain the 
same friendly relations. The recommendation 
was not fruitful of immediate results, but even- 
tually it took root, and, following it, some of the 
members of the order formed a corporation under 
the name of the Massasoit, Memorial Associa- 
tion, for the purpose of carrying out the project. 

Primarily the Improved Order of Red Men is 
a patriotic society, tracing its descent from the 
Sons of Liberty, and limiting its membership to 
American citizens; and, while teaching pa- 
triotism, it has endeavored to preserve some of 
the customs of the aborigines, and to pay due 
tribute to their many manly virtues, which we, 
as the dominant race, have been too strongly in- 
clined to overlook or to ignore. In pursuit of 
this general purpose, and in aid of the project 
which we have undertaken, this work has been 
prepared for presentation to those who may de- 
sire to contribute to the success of the enterprise. 
It is our plan to Tnake this a popular movement, 
that this statue when erected, may be the New 
World's tribute to the noble Red Man who stood 
guard over the cradle in which its liberties were 
nurtured; and the principal object of the writer 
in preparing this compilation of historical facts 


has been to array these facts so that they will 
■present a living, moving -panorama of the long 
ago, an examination of which will disclose a com- 
plete justification of the enterprise in aid of 
which the book is written. 


Fortunately, we have not been left in the dark 
concerning Massasoit's personal appearance. 
Edward Winslow, who was one of the hostages 
for his safe return when he entered the settle- 
ment at Plymouth to confer with Governor Car- 
ver, and who saw him on that occasion and often 
thereafter for many years, who was his friend, 
and one whom Massasoit loved, has left us such 
a complete and perfect description of him as is 
to be found of but few men of those remote tinges; 
and fortunately, we have succeeded in enlisting 
the services of Cyrus E. Dallin of Arlington, 
Massachusetts, eminent sculptor and portrayer 
of Indian character, to translate Winshw's de- 
scription into bronze. Massasoit was forty-one 
years old when he first appeared to the Pilgrims, 
and Mr. Dallin has created a model of the proud 
warrior in the prime of life, bearing the peace 
pipe to the strangers from across the great waters. 
From this model it is proposed to erect a statue 
of heroic size to be appropriately mounted on 


Cole's Hill, immediately overlooking the fa- 
mous rock against which the Mayflower's shallop 
rested and upon which its occupants landed on 
December 21, 1620. The Pilgrim Society of 
Plymouth has offered the site, and has volunteered 
to assume perpetual care of the statue when 
erected. And so we present our case to the 
people of the United States in an appeal to them 
to participate in an enterprise, the purpose of 
which is to pay deserved but belated tribute to 
this great Chief, that he may forever stand guard 
over the gateway through which the pilgrim 
bearers of the torch of Liberty first entered New 
England, even as he kept a watchful eye over her 
early struggles for existence. 

A. G. W. 

Fall Rivbr, Mass. 
May 10, 1919. 



I. Inteoductobt 1 

II. Indian Chahacteb 18 

III. The Algonquins 45 

rv. The Wampanoags 68 

V. Massasoit 91 

VI. Massasoit's Family 129 

VII. Samosbt, Squanto anb Hobamock . . . 146 

Vni. The Naeragansetts 160 


X. The Pequots, Mohicans and other West- 
ern Tribeb 194 

XI. King Philip and his Captains .... 234 





ALMOST three hundred years have passed into 
history since the Pilgrim ship bearing its 
precious freight of human souls dropped anchor in 
Cape Cod Bay, and its occupants sent out their 
shallop in search of a suitable place for landing. 
English ships had visited the New England coast 
many times between the date of the discovery of 
the New World by Columbus and that day; but 
they had brought only explorers, adventurers, 
traders and fishermen. Unlike the long line of its 
predecessors, the Mayflower came laden with men, 
women and children, bringing with them all their 
earthly possessions; and, what was immeasurably 
more important, the Anglo-Saxon love of Uberty, 
which, developed imder the new conditions they 
found here, has given us the boon of perfect liberty 
and equaUty under the law, but not ia contraven- 
tion of law. 

They had come to stay. Denied the right to wor- 
ship God in such form and manner as they saw fit, 
persecuted for their non-conformity to the estab- 



lished faith, they had fled from England to Hol- 
land, and from the latter country to the wilderness 
peopled only by natives who knew nothing of Einro- 
pean civilization, European customs or European 
rehgion, beyond what little they had learned from 
traders; and that was not favorable to the Euro- 

The century preceding their coming had wit- 
nessed the most remarkable upheavals in the re- 
ligious world of which history furnishes any record, 
except the advent of men who have promulgated an 
entirely new religion with such vigor that they 
have succeeded in impressing their teachings upon 
a considerable portion of the people of the world. 

In 1517 Tetzel, a Dominican Friar, and the 
guardian of the Franciscan Friars had been ap- 
poiated by the Cardinal Archbishop of Mainz, joint 
conamissaries for Saxony and North Germany, to 
preach an indulgence to all who would contribute to 
the rebuilding of St. Peter's Church at Rome; and 
while Tetzel was preaching in the Schlosskirche at 
Juterbogk, Luther had nailed to the door of the 
kirche his ninety-five theses, in which he chal- 
lenged Tetzel to a defence of his position, and took 
an attitude contrary to the established order, from 
which he ever after refused to recant. 

A Httle later, Henry VIII of England, in conse- 
quence of a quarrel with the Pope and Cardinals 
concerning the dissolution of his marriage to Cather- 
ine of Aragon, had established the Church of Eng- 
land as an independent ecclesiastical body; and 
still later John Calvin, a Frenchman, bom in the 


year that Henry ascended the throne of England, 
promulgated the Geneva Creed. 

All these things had set the leaven of religious 
liberty into a ferment which nearly blew the hd off 
the mixing pan; and creeds without number sprang 
up, especially among people who had chafed under 
the restrictions which held them to forms of wor- 
ship and to behefs estabhshed by others, whom they 
thought no more capable of expounding the teach- 
ings of the foimders of the religion they professed 
than were they. If Luther the priest could dissent 
from the teachings that had been inculcated into 
his mind through a long course of training for his 
profession; if the King of England, who had been 
a firm adherent of the established order of things, 
and had so ably defended the prerogatives of the 
church of Rome that he bad been recognized by it 
as "Defender of the Faith," could set up an inde- 
pendent church, what Umit was to be placed upon 
revolts against theological dogmas? What was to 
prevent the men who followed Luther, the English 
dissenters and Calvin in doing their own thinking, 
from doing a little independent thinking on their 
own account? 

At any rate, this is just what happened, with the 
result that the dissenters from the dogma of the first 
dissenters foujid themselves in just as uncomfort- 
able a position as that in which those first protes- 
tants against the established religion were placed by 
their protestations; for it is a pecuUar characteristic 
of the human mind, that, having discovered what it 
considers error in the tenets of any faith, and set 


up its own standard, it at once becomes intolerant 
of any one who suggests or even thinks that he has 
the same right to dissent from the latest standard 
established. So we find the Church of England 
refusing to the followers of Calvin the same religious 
hberty they had claimed in their defiance of the 
Church of Rome. 

It was this which drove the Pilgrims across the 
Atlantic in search of a home in the wilderness where 
they might be free from all restrictions upon their 
religious liberty; and by the irony of fate, it was 
this same working of the human mind, this same 
characteristic of which I have just spoken, that led 
them to acts of intolerance and oppression against 
men of other reUgious beliefs and the heterodox 
members of their own congregations, men whose 
consciences would not allow them to subscribe to all 
the tenets of the creed set up for them. It was this 
that drove Roger Williams from Salem to seek ref- 
uge first with Massasoit at Sowams, and later with 
the Narragansetts at the place which he devoutly 
named Providence; that sent Gorton from Ply- 
mouth to the same Narragansett country; and 
John Easton and a multitude of other Quakers 
from the Massachusetts Bay colony to Rhode 
Island and other places. 

The Pilgrims and the Puritans came here in 
search of a home where they might be free, but 
closed their doors to others impelled by the same 
love of freedom to flee their native land, thus fol- 
lowing the example of those whose persecutions they 
themselves had fled. In this they were but fol- 


lowing the inscrutable workings of the human nund, 
and indirectly and imintentionally laying the foun- 
dations of a broader liberty than they ever be- 
held in their wildest flights of fancy; for the very 
intolerance which they displayed but sharpened the 
spirit of resistance, and led to a more thorough 
understanding of true liberty, the liberty to pursue 
one's own inclinations until the pursuit reaches the 
bounds of positive evil, or trespasses upon the like 
hberties of another. 

These reflections are pecuharly applicable to the 
settlers of Southern New England, becaiise they 
were the first to attempt to establish upon these 
shores the principle of rehgious liberty for them- 
selves, though denied to others. The Roman 
Catholics in Maryland and the Quakers in Penn- 
sylvania but followed the trail they blazed; and it 
is in consequence of these facts that we of New 
England claim for our barren soil the title of Birth- 
place of the American Ideal, which if carefully con- 
served and safeguarded, will become the ideal of the 
world. Our New England soil may not be as pro- 
ductive as that of the plains of our middle west or 
of ovu* sunny south; but the atmosphere of New 
England civil and rehgious Uberty that has sm-- 
rounded us has been highly productive of men and 
women who have left the impress of their character 
upon the life of the country. In fact, I question 
whether any one will attempt at this late day to 
gainsay the claim so often made that December 21, 
1620, was the natal day of the American system of 
government. Somewhat crude at its birth was the 


idea out of which that system has grown; but the 
intolerance of restraint in matters of thought was 
there, and it is this spirit of resistance to attempts to 
limit the freedom of thought and action, running 
through all our colonial history, that finally devel- 
oped into that immortal docmnent, the Declaration 
of Independence, written, it is true, by a lover of 
hmnanity from fair Virginia, but breathing in its 
every line the traditions of New England, which 
had ere that time become the traditions of an in- 
cipient nation. 

The importance of that twenty-first day of De- 
cember, 1620, and of the landing of the Pilgrim 
fathers at Plymouth as an event in the history of 
the country, aye of humanity, cannot be over- 
estimated; nor can too high a valuation be put 
upon all the agencies that contributed to the suc- 
cess of the venture which drove them across the 
water. Foremost among those agencies was the at- 
titude of the natives towards these invaders of their 
domain. Had they, in resentment of their treat- 
ment at the hands of white adventurers, explorers 
and traders, assumed a hostile attitude, with the 
limited means of making the long and dangerous 
voyage across the sea at that time, they could un- 
doubtedly have wiped out the colonies as fast as 
they could have been planted, and thus set back 
the history of our country for at least a hundred 
years; the early history of New England would 
have been written in characters of blood on every 
hillside and plain instead of characters of living 
light for the illumination of the world; and without 


the history of New England, the history of the 
United States, aye, even of humanity, would be a 
different tale from that we teach our children and 
read in the record of current events. 

The present moment, with the statesmen of the 
free nations of the world assembled at Versailles 
for the discussion of a means for securing the peace 
of the world, seems a peculiarly appropriate time 
for calling attention to the first peace conference 
ever held on American soil, in which the white race 
participated on equal terms with the aborigines, of 
which we have any record; and its coming, as it 
does, on the eve of the three hundredth anniversary 
of that original conference, adds to the significance 
of the treaty growing out of that conference. 

It is not my purpose to write a history of the 
early colonial days. Events as they occurred were 
recorded by men who participated in them; and 
later writers, whose name is legion, drawing their 
information from these early historians, have dwelt 
upon the facts they set down, with all the embel- 
lishments capable of being given to them by the 
thoughtful mind and the facile pen. He who at- 
tempts to write history three hundred years after 
the happening of the events he records, with no 
new facts, disclosed by research at sources hitherto 
unexplored, must needs possess the skill to paint his 
narrative in colors never before essayed, or content 
himself with being a mere compiler of facts gathered 
and recorded by others. Unless his is the faculty of 
saying things in a more pleasing manner or of array- 
ing his facts in such a way that they will present a 


more attractive picture than has been before por- 
trayed by them, his excuse for writing is indeed 

No new facts will be presented by the narrative 
I am imdertaking, nor do I lay claim to any magic 
in the wielding of the pen that will make the old 
appear new. All that I shall attempt is to rescue 
from a mass of other matter in which they are so 
buried as to be almost inaccessible to the reader 
who has not the time or the inclination for wide 
research, certain historic facts, with a view to calling 
attention to some of the errors that have sprung up 
concerning the aborigines whom our fathers foimd 
in possession of this fair land when they first set 
foot upon its shores; to array those facts, gleaned 
from the writings of the men who participated in 
the stirring events of which they write, in such 
form that the array will assist in a better under- 
standing and higher appreciation of the true rela- 
tions between the original possessors of the land 
and the invading settlers from the old world, than 
the average reader is likely to gather from a limited 
reading of early history in which the subjects to 
which I desire to call attention are passed over 
with a word. 

Many of the most important features of that 
early history are almost entirely lost to the majority 
of readers for the reasons that I have suggested. 
True, every reader of American history knows of 
the struggles of the early settlers with hostile bands 
of natives, and of their privations and hardships in 
every foi-m; he knows of the visit of Samoset to 


the Pilgrims a few months after they knded at 
Pljonouth and of his greeting, "Welcome, English- 
men"; he has heard something of Squanto and of 
Hobamock; but how much does he really know 
about them? And yet, the part played by them 
and others of their kind in the early struggles of 
the infant colony, their faithfulness to their treaty 
obhgations and their loyalty and devotion to those 
to whom they had thereby bound themselves, form 
the brightest pages in the annals of Colonial New 

The story of Canoiiicus of the Narragansetts, and 
his haughty challenge to the colonists at Plymouth, 
sent in the form of a bimdle of arrows bound in a 
rattlesnake's skin, and of Governor Bradford's 
defiant reply, is familiar to every American school- 
boy; but how many know that, following and 
probably in consequence of this incident, the Nar- 
ragansetts were firm friends of the whites for more 
than twenty years, until the death of their beloved 
sachem Miantonomo, the nephew of Canonicus, at 
the hands of the fierce Uncas of the Mohicans? 
Probably every reader of American history remem- 
bers the story of that imjustifiable death, and of 
Uncas' cutting a slice of flesh from the shoulder of 
his still quivering victim and eating it, declaring it 
to be the sweetest meat he ever ate; but how 
many know that eight conomissioners of the colonies 
in Massachusetts and Connecticut authorized this 
cold-blooded murder of one of the most faithful 
friends the whites had among the red men, and 
thereby aroused the hostility of the Narragansetts, 


the most powerful confederation in New England, 
to such an extent that it was never allayed until 
the extermination of that federation in King PhiUp's 

Every one knows something about that war, but 
what percentage of even the well informed men of 
today can tell you any of the causes that led up to 
it, except possibly, the land question, which was 
really the least of the causes? How many know 
that Philip, the so-called "viadictive, bloodthirsty, 
cruel savage," showed more humanity in his treat- 
ment of whites during the war than was shown by 
the colonists towards their enemies? 

Since writing the foregoing Hues, my attention 
has been called to a matter which gives added force 
to what I have said concerning the general lack of 
information upon the subject of which I write. 
Within a few days the following appeared in a daily 
paper published in Providence. 

"Miss Elizabeth B. ChampUn, a direct descend- 
ant of the old Ninigret tribe of Indians which was 
BO prominent in Southern Rhode Island more than a 
century ago, died at Westerly yesterday. She was 
100 years and 10 months old, having been bom 
just over the Une in Connecticut on June 23, 1818. 

"She was a resident of Westerly all her life prac- 
tically, and was a daughter of Jesse and Hager 
Champlin, her father being a member of the Nini- 
gret tribe." 

I am not sufficiently famiUar with the history of 
Rhode Island for the past hundred years to assert 
positively that there was not a tribe there known 


as the Ninigret Indians; but if a tribe under that 
name did exist, the appellation Ninigret was a mis- 
nomer, and probably was given to the remnant of 
the Niantio tribe which followed its sachem — Nini- 
gret — in taking sides with the EngUsh in King 
Philip's war. The whites may have given them the 
name of their sachem after the war, meaning thereby 
simply Ninigret's Indians or Ninigret's tribe. The 
nearest approach to this name in the early histories 
is fovmd in the records of one of the old writers who 
speaks of the Eastern Niantics as Ninnicrafts, this 
also being the name sometimes given to the sachem 
Ninigret; but Ninigret was a Niantic, and the 
Eastern Niantics being under the protection of the 
Narragansetts, and perhaps closely related to them, 
most early writers speak of him as one of the Nar- 
ragansett sachems. 

The news writer may be speaking from exact 
knowledge, but to the man interested in tracing 
names to their sources, the article referred to leaves 
too much to be further inquired into or simply in- 
ferred; and I call attention to the matter at this 
time solely for the purpose of emphasizing what I 
have said on the subject. 

Wherever there is a lack of knowledge of many 
of these interesting facts, it is due simply to the tend- 
ency of the dominant race to exploit the deeds of its 
ancestors, and to a perfectly natiu:al impulse on the 
part of the descendants of the empire builders of 
three centuries ago to dwell upon the courage, 
energy and devotion to principle of the sturdy men 
who braved the terrors of the deep and the dangers 


of an unknown land, to plant upon these shores a 
government founded upon ideals which they had 

And so, without attempting to write history or 
even to essay the work of a compiler, the writer has 
prepared the following brief sketches of character, 
groups, tribes, and men in such a way that a care- 
ful reading of the whole will present a living, mov- 
ing panorama of the olden times, not a complete 
picture in any sense, but simply a sketch, a glimpse 
through the foliage that will reveal enough to lead 
to a better appreciation of the services rendered by 
the lost race in laying the foundations of ovu" liberty. 
If my effort assists, in only a small degree, in se- 
curing a fair hearing before the tribunal of public 
opinion for a much maUgned people, I shall feel 
that my labor has not been in vain. So bitter has 
been the arraignment of the red men by some of 
the writers of the early days, as well as by many 
who have followed them, that I have not hesitated 
to use language in characterizing their writings, and 
sometimes themselves, that may appear uimeces- 
sarily harsh; but there is such a perfectly apparent 
spirit of unfairness nmning through their narratives 
that they merit little sympathy. 

One thing we cannot keep too constantly in mind, 
and that is that the red men left no records. The 
history of the events in which they participated was 
written, for the most part, by their enemies; and 
it is only by digging up a line here and a sentence 
there, that one is enabled to get together anything 
that wiU do justice to the character of the race they 


exterminated, and then, to justify their treatment 
of them, attempted, by their writings, to cover 
with infamy. 

We can afford to approach the subject without 
passion or prejudice; and, reading between the 
lines, draw oin* own conclusions of the right and the 
wrong of the struggle for supremacy waged between 
the contending races. One is amazed to read from 
the pen of Schoolcraft, who wrote as late as 1849, 
such a sentiment as this concerning King Phihp. 
"We may lament that such energies were misapplied, 
but we cannot withhold oiu* respect for the man 
who, though lacking the motives that lead Christian 
martyrs to the stake and civilized heroes to the 
'inmiinent deadly breach,' was yet capable of com- 
bining all the military strength and political wis- 
dom of his country and placing the colonists in 
decidedly the greatest peril through which they had 
ever passed." This is the same Phihp of whom 
Major Daniel Gookin, commander of the Middlesex 
regiment in the war, wrote, "he was a person of good 
understanding and knowledge of the best things," 
quoted with apparent approval by Schoolcraft. 

Just what motives are referred to as leading 
"civiUzed heroes" to the "imminent deadly 
breach," that were lacking in Philip is not entirely 
clear, unless the author quoted means his readers 
to infer that what is a virtue in civilized heroes is a 
vice in those who are less civilized, or that the less 
civihzed are devoid of sentiment and incapable of 
being moved by the law of self-preservation and 
the motive of defence of family, home and native 


land. "We may lament that such energies were 
misapplied." In fact, it is one of the things that 
ought to give us food for reflection and serious re- 
gret, that our fathers thought it necessary by their 
acts of oppression and wrong, to drive Philip and his 
followers to the misapplication of their energies, in- 
stead of turning them to the advantage of both 
races. We commend the "civilized heroes" of aU 
ages and of all nations who have sprung to the 
"imminent deadly breach" in defence of all that 
life holds dear; and the same historians who sing 
their praises have iUogically devoted their energies 
for more than two centuries to an attempt to palliate 
or excuse the crimes of the whites, by condemning 
the simple natives who remained steadfast in the 
defence of the same principles for which heroes have 
died since history began. 

Speaking of King Phihp's war in general, School- 
craft continues: "It is interesting to observe the 
fate of this people who were the object of so much 
benevolent care after the passage of an epoch of 
Uttle less than two centuries. The great blow to 
the permanent success of this work was struck by 
the imfortimate and general war which broke out 
under the indomitable sachem called Metacom, 
better known as King Philip. He drew aU but the 
Christian converts and the Mohigans into this 
scheme. Even these were suspected. The cruel- 
ties which were committed during this war pro- 
duced the most bitter hatred and distrust between 
the parties. The whole race of Indians was sus- 
pected and from the advance of this unwise war on 


the part of the natives, we must date the suspicion 
and unkind feelings which were so prevalent and 
which yet take up the American mind." 

"Benevolent care!" One knows not whether to 
laugh in derision or to weep in pity at the utter lack 
of discernment of the man who sees "benevolent 
care" in systematic robbery and oppression, coupled 
with wholesale degradation through the sale of rum. 
This was the colonists' "benevolent care." 

"The cruelties which were committed during this 
war" were not confined to the period of the war. 
They were begun by the English and systematically 
carried out for thirty years before the natives saw 
the doom of their people in their continuation and 
rose in revolt; and during the war the balance is 
on the wrong side of the ledger for the whites to 

"The whole race of Indians was suspected," and 
for a long time before, had been suspected of a de- 
sire to live in freedom; and "the suspicion and un- 
kind feelings which were so prevalent and which yet 
take up the American mind," have resulted from the 
reading of the histories of prejudiced writers like 
Hubbard, Mather, Schoolcraft and scores of others, 
who, through prejudice, or a desire to cover the sins 
of the fathers by raising such a storm of slander and 
disparagement of the men whom they were bent to 
destroy, as to becloud the vision, present only one 
side of the case and appeal to their readers to pass 
judgment on the merits of the whole cause from the 
evidence thus adduced; or rather to accept their 
judgment without looking at the other side. 


-Unfortunately for the memory of the vanished 
race, too many men are content to accept the dic- 
tum of such historians without question; but, on the 
other hand, fortunately for the cause of truth, the 
white man has, perhaps inadvertently, allowed 
enough to get into the records to enable the discern- 
ing and discriminating reader to reverse the judg- 
ment. The modem tendency to "hew to the line, 
let the chips fall where they may," is leading to a 
better understanding and a more favorable con- 
sideration of Indian character. A careful analysis of 
the history of the early colonies is bound to result in 
the shattering of many idols; but desperate indeed 
is the situation of any people whose past and present 
cannot stand the fuU glare of the searchhght of truth. 

Our fathers have builded well, better perhaps 
than they dreamed; upon the foundations they laid, 
their sons have reared the superstructure of per- 
fect hberty and equality before the law. Enough of 
credit and glory attaches to them, without attempt- 
ing to cast a glamor of sanctity about them and their 
acts, to the discredit and infamy of the race they 
conquered and destroyed under a mistaken belief 
that its annihilation was necessary to make their 
own position secure. 

This book is not written for savants. There is 
nothing in it that they do not know, although they 
may not agree with some of the writer's ' conclu- 
sions; but to the busy man who has not had the 
time or the inclination to make the little side trips 
into the realm of historical research that would en- 
able him to discern what is true and what is false. 


we extend the invitation to come with us along the 
trails our fathers blazed, to go back in fancy over 
the ground they traversed, to take an account of the 
conditions they encoimtered; and to draw his own 
inferences and conclusions. 

If the perusal of this series of Uttle sketches 
presents nothing that has hitherto escaped your at- 
tention, let it, at least, refresh your recollection of 
the story of the olden times. Let it recall the hard- 
ships endured by the pioneers, the perils they faced 
to plant upon these new foimd shores the tree of 
Uberty, and to nourish and sustain it in the early 
days of its growth, ere it had attained sufficient 
strength to withstand the blasts of adversity. Let 
it impress upon you the duty we owe to the memory 
of a vanished race to give it the full measure of 
credit to which it is entitled, as one of the agencies 
that contributed to the early growth and develop- 
ment of the colonies which gave us a nation. With- 
out the friendship of that race, the history of New 
England would be written in different characters 
than it is today, and without New England, what 
would have been the history of America? 

As we look back upon the past, comparing it as 
it was with what it might have been but for the 
friendship of Massasoit, and the beneficent effects 
of that friendship, as a bulwark of protection for 
that feeWe band who laid the foundation of our free 
institutions, we shudder to think, "how weak a hand 
may turn the iron helm of fate"; by how slender a 
hair the sword of destiny hangs suspended above 
the heads of men and nations. 



SO much has been said and written about the 
character of the aborigines that the subject 
may be thought to have been exhausted long ago; 
and so it is, except as individual thought and indi- 
vidual analysis of the various appraisals of Indian 
character may contribute to a better imderstanding 
of it; for, notwithstanding the various estimates 
that have been made, or rather in consequence of the 
apparent contradictions in them, it may be worth 
while to compare a few of them for the purpose of 
ascertaining the cause of the contradictions, and de- 
termining whether there is any real conflict, or only 
an apparent one resulting from the changes wrought 
by time and circumstances. No value would attach 
to such an attempt, but for the fact that we are too 
prone to form our opinions from too limited reading, 
in which we may see but one side of a matter; and 
even if we have read both sides, the way in which 
one writer has arrayed his facts, the language used, 
in a word, the picture he presents, may make a more 
lasting impression than that of any other, and so 
we unconsciously form our opinion from that which 
has thus appealed to us and written itself upon the 
tablets of our memory most ineffaceably. 



The principal difficulty with most of the later 
portrayals of Indian types and character that have 
been presented to us has been that they have 
painted the Indian as he was after generations of 
demoralizing contact with the white man and his 
ci"vilization, demoraUzing because first attempts to 
engraft civihzation upon the natural stock inevita- 
bly result in the absorption by the children of 
nature of all the evils of civilization and the rejection 
of the good, just as children acquire evil habits more 
readily than correct ones, even when most zealously 
watched and guarded. The result of the early at- 
tempts to teach the aborigines of this continent the 
arts of civihzation has been the creation of a charac- 
ter so immeasm-ably worse than that of the natives 
ia their primitive state that one shudders to think 
of the monstrosity that grew out of the attempt. 
There is enough of evil in the best of men, and if 
only the good that has come to the advanced races, 
without its attendant evils, could be impressed upon 
the plastic minds of men in their natural state, thus 
leading them httle by Uttle away from the vices of 
barbarism without leading them into the vices of 
civihzation, the history of the world would be written 
in different characters than it is. For no one will 
attempt to gainsay the fact that the enhghtenment 
of ages has resulted, not only in the production of 
much that is of real value to the cause of progress 
and of humanity, but also of as much that has 
been a stumbling block to trip the unwary. Science 
has produced as much evil as good, and yet we 
would not descry science on that accoimt, because 


the path is open before us to choose the good and 
reject the evil in so far as it affects our own most 
intimate life; so we would not destroy the good be- 
cause it is accompanied by evil, but rather avoid, 
and assist those who grope in darkness to avoid, 
the pitfalls that science has dug for unwary feet. 
Had our fathers pursued this course, much that 
has been written concerning Indian character would 
not have found a place upon the pages of history. 

Francis Parkman, Jr., from whose writings I shall 
have occasion to quote from time to time, although 
a man of painstaking research, and a vivid painter 
of word pictures, seems to have fallen into this gen- 
eral error of delineating the character of the red 
man as it was after he had fallen a victim to too 
many of the demoralizing vices introduced by con- 
tact with the white man's civilization, which have 
had a tendency to exaggerate many of the charac- 
teristics to which Parkman calls attention to such an 
extent that, in reading his description, we are con- 
stantly under the necessity of keeping this fact in 
. mind and of using it as a pruning knife with which 
to lop off the artificial growths and reduce condi- 
tions he describes to their normal state. 

His description, however, is so vivid and contains 
so much of truth as established by the incontro- 
vertible facts disclosed by history, and such a re- 
markable commentary on the workings of the 
human mind, that I am taking the hberty of lifting 
it bodily from the introductory chapter of his story 
of the Conspiracy of Pontiac, making such comments 
as seem to me to be warranted; and asking the 


reader to consider it in the light of the facts to 
which I have called attention. He says: 

"Of the Indian character much has been written 
foolishly, and credulously beUeved. By the rhap- 
sodies of poets, the cant of sentimentaUsts, and the 
extravagance of some who should have known 
better,, a counterfeit image has been tricked out, 
which might seek in vain for its likeness through 
every comer of the habitable earth; an image 
bearing no more resemblance to its original than the 
monarch of the tragedy and the hero of the epic 
poem bear to their hving prototypes in the palace 
and the camp. The sha,dows of his wilderness home, 
and the darker mantle of his own inscrutable re- 
serve, have made the Indian warrior a wonder and 
a mystery. Yet to the eye of rational observation, 
there is nothing uninteUigible in him. He is full, it 
is true, of contradiction. He deems himself the 
centre of greatness and renown; his pride is proof 
against the fiercest torments of fire and steel; and 
yet the same man would beg for a dram of whiskey 
or pick up a crust of bread thrown to him like a dog 
from the tent door of a traveler. At one moment 
he is wary and cautioiis to the verge of cowardice; 
at the next he abandons himself to the very insanity 
of recklessness, and the habitual self-restraint which 
throws an impenetrable veil over emotion is joined 
to the wild, impetuous passions of a beast or a mad 
man. Such inconsistencies, strange as they seem 
in our eyes, when viewed under a novel aspect, 
are but the ordinary instincts of humanity. The 
qualities of the mind are not imiform in their ac- 


tion through all the relations of life. With different 
men and different races of men, pride, valor, pru- 
dence, have different forms of manifestation, and 
where in one instance, they he dormant, in another 
they are keenly awake. The conjunction of great- 
ness and httleness, meanness and pride, is older 
than the days of the patriarchs; and such anti- 
quated phenomena, displayed imder a new form in 
the imreflecting, undisciphned mind of a savage, 
call for no special wonder, but should rather be 
classed with the other enigmas of the fathomless 

I have been constrained to quote thus freely, be- 
cause it illustrates what I have already said concern- 
ing the mongrel produced by crossing the native 
barbarism with the evils of civilization. Parkman 
has given us in some respects a perfect picture of the 
child of the forest; but in parts of his characteriza- 
tion he has portrayed him as he was after he had 
been robbed of his lands, driven from his hunting 
grounds, defrauded of his petty substance and re- 
duced to starvation by the ruthless destroyers of 
his race; his savage nature rendered a thousand 
times more savage by the white man's outrages and 
the white man's rum. Before contact with the 
white race had reduced him to the condition de- 
scribed by Parkman in some of these passages, Gos- 
nold, Rofier and Smith met him, and their testi- 
mony establishes his character in his original state. 

Continuing Parkman says: — "Some races of 
men seem moulded in wax, soft and melting, at 
once plastic and feeble. Some races," like some 


metals, combine the greatest flexibility with the 
greatest strength. But the Indian is hewn out of 
rock. You cannot change the form without de- 
stroying the substance. He will not learn the arts 
of civilization and he and his forest must perish 
together." This was written in 1851, and the last 
sentence has since been so completely refuted by the 
experience of the past quarter century that it almost 
leads us to doubt the accuracy of the entire ap- 
praisal. Some parts of it however, so perfectly 
accord with what we have learned from other 
sources that we may safely accept the whole, mak- 
ing due allowance for what are simply conclusions, 
and for the demoralizing effects of the agencies to 
which I have already called attention. 

In conclusion Parkman says, "He has a hand 
bountiful to bestow as it is rapacious to seize, and 
even in extremest famine, imparting its last morsel 
to a fellow sufferer, a heart which, strong in friend- 
ship as in hate, thinks it not too much to lay down 
life for its chosen comrade; a soul true to its own 
idea of honor, and burning with an unquenchable 
thirst for greatness and renown." All of which 
leads us back to his reflection that these are "but 
the ordinary instincts of himianity," and "should 
be classed with the other enigmas of the fathomless 

Far out on the western plains or in the foot hills 
of the Rocky Mountains during the life and death 
struggle between the ever receding wave of red 
men and the restless ever advancing wave of invad- 
ing whites, originated a saying which has been so 


often repeated that most of us have come to accept 
it as a truism, without stopping to consider all the 
facts that have contributed to the condition which 
gave rise to the expression. "There is no good In- 
dian but a dead Indian," said some one of the men 
who had been sent either to quell some uprising 
among the natives, or to remove them from the 
lands their fathers had hunted and fished for genera- 
tions, or that had been allotted to them at some 
earlier period when the cupidity of the whites, 
coveting their former abode, even as they now 
coveted the later, impelled them to press the red 
skins farther and farther towards the setting sun. 
Error, oft repeated, sometimes assmnes the appear- 
ance of truth, and acts of cruelty often lent color to 
the maxim. Before accepting this judgment as 
final, however, it will be well to look into the char- 
acteristics of the race; compare them with other 
races that have not attained the topmost round of 
the ladder of civilization and consider the treatment 
accorded them by the whites. In this way, and 
only in this way, wiU we be able to determine 
whether the author of the expression has made an 
accurate appraisal of the Indian character. If we 
look upon the Indian as a child, and regard that 
child as a good child or otherwise in proportion to 
his promptness in doing as he is told, it will be diffi- 
cult to deny the truth of the saying. If by good 
Indian, we mean the Indian who is willing to sub- 
mit to every indignity and insult that the ingenuity 
of civiUzation can devise, who will permit himself 
to be kicked from pillar to post without protesting 


in the most forcible manner known to him, who is 
willing to give up to others the lands of his fathers, 
who kisses the hand that smites him, and grovels 
in the dust before the people who would rob him 
and reduce him to virtual slavery, it is useless to 
attempt to gainsay the maxim; and, by the same 
standard, there is no good man, whether his skin 
be red, or white, black, brown or yellow, but a dead 
man, for a careful study of history inevitably leads 
to the conclusion that hviman nature is very much 
the same regardless of the color of a man's skin; 
and that any man with red blood in his veins will 
fight with such weapons as he possesses, and accord- 
ing to his light, for much the same ideals, foremost 
among which is the protection of his home and 
family and the graves of his fathers, for 

" How can man die better than facing fearful odds 
For the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods, 
And for the tender mother that dawdled him to rest, 
And the gentle wife that fondles his children to her 

To form a correct estimate of Indian character, 
it will be necessary to look into their hfe before it 
had been influenced by contact with the whites, and 
to inquire how their life and character have been 
affected by that contact. 

Every student of American history knows of the 
reception of Colmnbus by the imtutored children of 
the islands, and of the homage they paid to the 
wonderful strangers who had come from the land of 
the rising sun in great canoes with the wings of a 
bird; of the courtesy and kindness of the natives 


to them, the treasures they freely bestowed upon 
them; and of the way in which the whites repaid 
their courtesy and kindness, by seizing their people 
and carrying them unwilling captives to Spain. 
This same kindness and courtesy were extended to 
nearly all the early explorers, and repaid in nearly 
all instances in the same way. Following the ex- 
ample of Colirmbus, and the early Spanish explorers, 
John and Sebastian Cabot in 1497 seized and carried 
away three natives to be exhibited as curiosities at 
the court of Henry VII. Caspar Cortereal, a Por- 
tuguese navigator, in 1500 captm-ed a number and 
sold them into slavery. These are only two con- 
crete examples of what was undoubtedly the general 
practice among the adventurers who crossed the 
ocean in those early days in search of the treasures 
of the Indies. In spite of this, Bartholomew Gos- 
nold in 1602, after more than a century of such out- 
rages, says of them, "These people are exceeding 
courteous, gentle of disposition, and well condi- 
tioned." In 1605, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who was 
at that time the commander of the Port of Ply- 
mouth, England, sent Captain George Waymouth 
to the New England coast on a trading expedition. 
There is some disagreement among historians as to 
the exact place of the episode of which James 
Rofier, a member of his crew, and apparently the 
official secretary of the expedition, wrote, some 
placing it lq the Narragansett coimtry and others 
at Pemaquid on the Maine coast. Rofier writes, 
"When we came on shore, they most kindly enter- 
tained us, taking us by the hand and brought us to 


sit down by their fire; they filled their pipes and 
gave us of their excellent tobacco as much as we 
would." This kind entertainment was repaid as re- 
lated by Rofier in a communication dated Jime 14, 
1605. "About eight o'clock this day, we went on 
shore with our boats to fetch aboard water and wood. 
Our captain, lea-ving word with the gunner in the 
ship, by discharging a musket, to give notice if they 
espied any canoe coming and which they did about 
ten o'clock. He therefore, being careful they should 
be kindly treated, requested me to go aboard, in- 
tending with dispatch to make what haste after he 
possibly could. When I came to the ship, there 
were two canoes and in either of them three savages, 
of whom two were below at the fire; the others 
seated in their canoes about the ship, and because 
we could not entice them aboard, we gave them a 
can of peas and bread, which they carried to the 
shore to eat; but one of them brought back our can 
presently and staid aboard with the other two; for 
he being yovmg of a ready capacity, and one we 
most desired to bring with us into England had 
received exceeding kind usage at our hands and was 
therefore much dehghted in our company. When 
our captain was come, we consulted how to catch 
the other three at shore, which we performed thus: 
we manned the Lighthorseman []boat] with seven or 
eight men; one, standing before, carried our box of 
merchandise as we were wont when I went to 
traflSc with them, and a platter of peas, which meat 
they loved, but before we were landed one of them 
(beiag so suspiciously fearful of his own good) with- 


drew himself into the wood. The other two met us 
on the shore side to receive the peas, with which we 
went up the cliff to their fire and eat down with 
them; and while we were discussing how to catch 
the third man who was gone, I opened the box and 
showed them trifles to exchange, thinking thereby 
to have banished fear from the other, and drawn 
him to return; but when we could not, we used 
httle delay but suddenly laid hands upon them and 
it was as much as five or six of us could do to get 
them iato the Lighthorseman; for they were strong, 
and so naked as our best hold was by their long hair 
on their heads; and we would have been very loth 
to have done them any hurt, which of necessity we 
had been constrained to have done if we had at- 
tempted them in a multitude; which we must and 
would rather than have wanted them, being a matter 
of great importance for the full accomplishment of 
our voyage." 

Among these five was Tahanedo, a Sagamore. 
Sir Ferdinando Gorges writes of them that when 
they landed at Plymouth, England, he seized them 
and, further, that they were all of one nation but 
of several parts and several families, and concludes, 
"This accident must be acknowledged the means, 
imder God, of putting on foot and giving life to all 
our plantations; and having kept them fully three 
years, I made them able to set me down what great 
rivers run up into the land, what men of note were 
seated on them, of what power they were, how 
allied, and what enemies they had." 

The reason given for this kidnapping of the 


natives by Waymouth was, not for the purpose of 
making slaves of them, but to treat them kindly 
and thus induce them to give his employers informa- 
tion concerning the country that could not other- 
wise be obtained — a fine distinction in the view of 
ovu: modern ideas of slavery. They were to be held 
for a long period of time against their will, to per- 
form service for the men by whom they were held, 
but not as slaves. 

It appears that in 1606, two of these captives 
were sent out with Captain Henry Challons on a 
trading expedition, but ChaUons and the natives were 
captured by the Spaniards. How long they were 
held does not appear, but they are both known to 
have returned to England at a later date. 

In 1611, another of Gorges' captains, Edward 
Harlow, seized three natives at "Monhigon" Is- 
land. One of them got away and, gathering a 
number of others with him, he made a demonstra- 
tion against the ship and cut loose a boat which they 
took to the shore, and which the ship's crew were 
unable to retake. Harlow then went south as far 
as "Capoge" (vmdoubtedly Martha's Vineyard). 
My reason for saying undoubtedly Martha's Vine- 
yard is the similarity between this name and one of 
the Indian names of that island, Capawack, and the 
further fact that the name of one of the men whom 
he seized there is identical with that of the sachem of 
that island in 1621. At Capoge, Harlow seized two 
Indians named Coneconam and Epenow, and at 
Nohono, he seized another named Sakaweston. 
With these five he returned to England. 


In 1614 still another of Gorges' captains named 
Hobson, on an expedition to the New England coast 
brought back Epenow with him. It is related that 
when he arrived in his native country, Epenow con- 
spired with some of his friends to effect his escape, 
and that they came to rescue him with twenty 
canoes; that Epenow slipped from the ship, and his 
friends in the canoes let fly such a shower of arrows 
upon and about the ship that its crew were xmable 
to retake him. 

In 1619, Captain Thomas Dermer, another of 
Gorges' captains, on the occasion of his visit to the 
New England coast, met Epenow, who told him of 
his escape. Epenow learned from him that he was 
in Gorges' service and made inquiry about hina, but 
probably believing that Dermer had been sent to 
recapture him and take him back to England, he 
gathered a number of his people and attacked Der- 
mer, apparently with the intent to take him prisoner; 
"but he being a brave stout gentleman," drew his 
sword and freed himself from them, though not with- 
out much difficulty, as it is related that he received 
fourteen wounds in the encounter, of so serious a 
nature that he was obliged to go to Virginia to have 
them attended to. 

It was on the occasion of this visit that Dermer 
learned of another outrage perpetrated by the 
whites upon the natives. In a letter dated June 20, 
1620, he writes that the Pokanokets "bear an in- 
veterate malice to the English"; and that this 
enmity was "aroused by an Englishman, who had 
many of them on board, and made a great slaughter 


with their murderers [^small cannon or mortars] and 
small shot, when, as they say, they offered no in- 
jury." Dermer doubts whether these were Enghsh 
or French, who, as Winslow learned on the occasion 
of his visit to Sowams in 1621, did much fishing in 
Narragansett Bay. Whether English or French is 
not of much consequence. They were whites, and 
their act would naturally arouse the ire of the out- 
raged natives against the white race. From our 
knowledge of the treatment of the natives by the 
French as compared with that of the English, how- 
ever, we are safe in concluding that Dermer had 
very little reason for the doubt. This was another 
chapter in the history of maUcious treatment of the 
Indians which would never have seen the hght of 
day but for this letter of Captain Dermer. 

In this connection, the fact that this attack was 
made upon the people of the same Great Sachem 
who less than a year after the letter was written and 
probably within seven or eight years of the time of 
the outrage of which Dermer writes, trailed forty 
miles to Plymouth to extend to the Pilgrims the 
ohve branch of peace, is worth a word of comment 
in passing. 

In 1614 Captain John Smith with a fleet of trad- 
ing vessels visited the new world and skirted the 
shores of New England from the Penobscot to and 
aroimd Cape Cod. From his observations made on 
this occasion, he drafted a map of the coast, a copy 
of which appears in Governor WiUiam Bradford's 
history of Plymouth Colony, as published by 
the Massachusetts Historical Society. This map, 


though not without its inaccuracies, shows such 
familiarity with the coast that it inevitably leads to 
the conclusion that Smith must have made a careful 
study of the topography of the shore; and there 
can be no doubt that he made very many landings 
aU along this coast. If this is true, what he says 
concerning Indian traits must be taken as applying 
generally, and not to any particular tribe or to those 
of any special locahty. Captain Smith, writing of 
the natives at that time, says "they were silly 
savages," and "they were very kind, but in their 
fury no less valiant, for upon a quarrel we had with 
one of them, he only with three others, crossed the 
harbor of Quonahassit ^Cohasset] to certain rocks 
whereby we had to pass, and there let fly their 
arrows for our shot." As Smith proceeded down 
the bay "upon small occasion," as he writes, further 
difficulty arose, some forty or fifty Indians attacking 
the English. The exact place of this encounter is 
not given, but it was either in the territory of the 
Massachusetts or that of the Wampanoags. It is 
recorded that on this occasion the English fired upon 
the natives, killing one and wounding another with 
a shot through the thigh; and yet we are told on no 
less an authority than that of Smith himself, that in 
an hour after the encoimter, they made up and were 
friends again. It was on this voyage that Captain 
Smith, sailing from the coast of New England for 
Virginia, left one of his vessels, under conamand of 
Captain Thomas Hunt, in Cape Cod Bay, to com- 
plete the loading of his ship with fish, furs and oil. 
Captain Hunt, relieved of the restraint, of his su- 


perior, completed .his cargo, and then to his eternal 
infamy, enticed twenty-seven natives on board, and 
sailed away with them to Malaga where he sold 
them into slavery. These twenty-seven were made 
up of twenty Patuxets and seven Nausets, among 
the former of whom was Squanto, about whom we 
shall see more hereafter, as weU as of the fate of 
the others. 

The purpose of introducing these narratives briefly 
in this place has been to throw such Hght as they 
afford upon the character of the aborigines as they 
were first seen by the bold explorers and traders 
from Europe. I have quoted freely from the writ- 
ings of the men who mingled with them after the 
acts of violence to which I have called attention, 
some of which occiu:red in the immediate vicinity 
of the Indians whose kindly traits were so clearly 
manifested, or in such close proximity to them that 
knowledge of the outrages on the part of the Eng- 
lish must have reached the men who stiU received 
them with open arms, and appeared desirous of 
maintaining friendly relations with them, and of 
bartering their valuable furs for such trinkets and 
baubles as appealed to their native simplicity. The 
testimony of aU these men is to the same effect, and 
establishes beyond peradventure the fact that they 
were kind, coiuieoiis, hospitable and of gentle dis- 
position. "Silly savages" they may have been, in 
the sense that they knew not the value of what 
they gave, measured by the standard of what their 
received, unskilled in the arts of commerce, but not 
the treacherous and blood-thirsty fiends that their 


descendants have been painted; not entirely with- 
out cause it must be admitted, but, what is the 

It is undoubtedly true that training for war was 
looked upon as the most important part of the edu- 
cation of the Indian youth, and that wars between 
the tribes were waged altogether too frequently and 
without what would be considered justifiable cause 
among civilized peoples; and no attempt has ever 
been made to controvert the charge so often made 
that unnecessary cruelties were indulged in by the 
warring nations. I shall not attempt to justify 
burning prisoners at the stake or the practice of re- 
moving a portion of a war victim's scalp as a trophy 
of the conflict; but will content myself by simply 
calling attention to the fact that all human progress 
has been by slow stages and that, as nations have 
climbed the ladder of civilization round by roimd, 
they have, with each successive upward movement, 
shaken off some of the practices of the lower life in 
which their fathers had indulged; but that this climb- 
ing has been going on through countless ages, and 
that the conduct of each succeeding generation has 
been according to its light. Old customs die hard, 
and it is much easier to walk in the trodden path 
than to blaze new trails. The primitive red men 
who occupied the land at the time of its discovery 
by Europeans had made comparatively httle prog- 
ress along the path of civilization, though they 
were not the totally benighted children of evil that 
some would have us beheve. They still lived, for 
the most part, by himting and fishing, and the num- 


ber of people who can subsist in this way upon any 
given territory is necessarily limited by the natural 
increase in the game and fish. They had no domes- 
tic animals, and for meat depended upon the hunt. 
They were, therefore, extremely zealous in guarding 
the boundaries of their hunting groimds to protect 
them against trepasses by the occupants of neigh- 
boring localities; and any serious invasion of their 
territory which resulted in the taking of the game 
which meant life or death to them was a most seri- 
ous offence, and one that was almost certain to re- 
sult in war. And these wars were frequently waged 
to the complete extermination or subjugation of one 
of the contending parties. This was not necessarily 
the result of any inherent cruelty or love of killing 
one's enemies merely for the sake of killing, but for 
the purpose of so reducing them as to make further 
acts of violence either to the persons of the con- 
querors or against their hunting grounds a matter 
of the remotest possible chance; as well as to make 
of them an example that would strike terror into the 
hearts of other possible trespassers. They had not 
made the progress that enabled them to discard, in 
their treatment of their slain or captured enemies, 
the practices they had learned from their fathers; 
although there is no doubt that they had ameliorated 
the conditions of warfare to some considerable ex- 
tent since the beginning of their history. They 
simply hved according to the Ught the Great Spirit 
had vouchsafed them, and, if left to themselves, 
might, by the long and tedious process of racial 
evolution, have developed a civilization which would 


compare favorably with that of the nations of the 
old world. It has been said of them that they 
never forgave an injury or forgot a benefit. Too 
many of their critics, in considering their character, 
forget the last part' of this saying. But, taking the 
testimony of the men who mingled freely with them 
as establishing the characteristics to which I have 
alluded, how shall we account for the atrocities per- 
petrated upon the whites by the sons of the men 
whom Gosnold, Rofier and Smith describe? Per- 
haps the first intimation of one great cause is to be 
found in Governor Bradford's account of the enter- 
tainment of Samoset at Plymouth on the sixteenth 
and seventeenth of March, 1621. Samoset came 
from Monhegan, the island from which Harlow 
carried away two natives in 1611, and probably in 
close proximity to the place of Captain Waymouth's 
adventure a few years before. Monhegan was one 
of the noted Indian fishing places and was frequently 
resorted to by English visitors to these parts before 
and after the times referred to. It was in fact the 
site of one of the earUest English attempts at colo- 
nization in New England. Samoset had mingled 
with the English voyagers sufficiently to pick up a 
few words of their language and "apparently had ac- 
quired a taste for English beer, for Bradford tells us 
that he asked for that beverage on the occasion of 
his first entertainment at Plymouth, and was given 
"strong water." Ah! There is one answer to the 
degradation of the "silly savages." "Strong water." 
The Indian's "fire water," first suppUed to them by 
the whites, whether for the purpose of so benumb- 


ing their senses that they would lose what little cun- 
ning they had in trading or of creating an appetite 
so insatiable that they would barter the fruits of the 
hunt for an exhilarating draught of the beverage, 
we can only conjecture, but we have seen so much 
of its effects upon man that it is not difficult to 
hazard an inference concerning the 'result. We have 
seen men spend the price of their children's food to 
obtain it; we have seen the mother under its in- 
fluence desert her offspring; the son curse the 
mother that gave him birth; and raise his hand 
against the father who guided his first tottering 
steps in infancy. We have seen it transform the 
mild and kindly disposition into the fury of a 
demon; and it is not difficult for us to picture the 
change that would be wrought in the simple natives, 
the "silly savages," by its insidious influence. Add 
to this the treatment they received at the hands of 
the whites, and the story is complete. Their hos- 
pitahty and kindness repaid by violence, captivity 
and slavery; their hunting grounds given over to 
the axe and the plow ; their means of securing a Uve- 
lihood constantly diminished by these encroach- 
ments upon the lands they had inherited from their 
fathers. What more is needed to efface whatever 
progress a thousand years had seen, to arouse and 
intensify all the old savage instincts that more care- 
ful consideration and kindly treatment might have 
obhterated? Instead of taking careful account of 
the slmnbering demon within them and repaying 
kindness with kindness, the whites hurled among 
them the firebrand of robbery, causeless slaughter. 


slavery and outrage; and, because the wrongs of a 
hundred years coupled with the white man's rum 
transformed the "sUly savage," kind, courteous 
and hospitable, into the blood-thirsty red skin of the 
period beginning with the death of Miantonomo and 
terminating only with the complete subjugation of 
the race on the western plains and in the movmtain 
fastnesses of the Cordilleras, we are told that 
"There is no good Indian but a dead Indian." 

The red man has been called blood-thirsty, cruel, 
vindictive, false and treacherous, these being pro- 
novmced by some writers the predominating traits 
of the character of the race. There is much in their 
dealings with each other and with the whites to sub- 
stantiate the charge; but before passing judgment 
on his race, let us look at him in comparison with 
the men against whom he stood for the defence of 
hia native land; and then "let him that is without 
sin first cast a stone." Let torture stand as the 
test of cruelty; and, in torture, the Mohican allies 
of the Colonists were the past masters among the 
New England Indians. Take the most cruel case 
recorded in history to establish the charge, the case 
related by an early historian. Among the prisoners 
captured by Major Talcott of Connecticut was a 
young Narragansett, who had been taken by some 
of the Mohicans; and they asked permission to put 
him to death by torture. Hubbard tells us this 
was exceedingly painful for the English, and then 
proceeds to say that one of the reasons for granting 
the permission was "that they might have an ocular 
demonstration of the savage, barbarous cruelties of 


these heathen"; who, by the way, were theu: allies, 
and whose cruelties they sanctioned, knowing them 
to be the most cruel and savage of the natives. 
The other reason for granting the permission was, 
"lest by a denial they might disoblige their Indian 
friends." Now read Hubbard's description of what 

"The Narragansett boasted that he had killed 
nineteen Englishmen and had loaded his gun for 
the twentieth, but not finding one, he had shot a 
Mohegan rather than lose a good shot." His tor- 
mentors "made a great circle and placed him in the 
middle so that all eyes might at the same time be 
pleased with the utmost revenge upon him. They 
first cut one of his fingers round in the joint at the 
trunck of the hand with a sharp knife and then 
brake it off; then they cut off another and another 
imtn they had dismembered one hand of all its 
digits, the blood sometimes spurting out in streams 
a yard from his hands, which barbarous unheard of 
cruelties, the English were not able to bear, it forc- 
ing tears from their eyes. Yet did not the sufferer 
ever relent or show any sign of anguish, for being 
asked by some of his tormentors how he liked 
the war, this insensible and hard-hearted monster 
answered he liked it very well and found it as 
sweet as Englishmen did their sugar. In this frame 
he continued until his executioners had dealt with 
the toes of his feet as they had done with the fingers 
of his hands, all the while making himself dance 
aroxmd the circle and sing, until he wearied both 
himself and them. At last they brake the bones of 


his legs, for which he was forced to sat down, which 
it is said he silently did, till they had knocked out 
his brains." 

For the highest refinement in cruelty commend 
me to this, permitted, countenanced, encouraged 
and witnessed by the whites, professed followers of 
Him who walked in Galilee, teaching peace and 
good will to men. Cruel on the part of the Mo- 
hicans! Certainly! Hxmiane on the part of the 
English? There was not a Wampanoag, a Narra- 
gansett or a Nipmuck fighting imder Metacomet, 
who would not have dashed into the circle and 
despatched the sufferer with one blow of the toma- 
hawk before the completion of this orgy of cruelty; 
yet the Christian English saw it through. Search 
the annals of that war as written by white men, and 
you will search in vain for such an atrocity on the 
part of their enemies. 

Indiscriminate slaughter is evidence of blood- 
thirstiness, and the entire history of the war is a 
history of indiscriminate slaughter. It was a war 
of extermination. Settlements were destroyed, men, 
women and children sharing the same fate. At 
Kingston, Rhode Island, during the swamp fight, 
the whites set fire to every habitable hut or tepee 
and burned hundreds of women and children. 

When Awashonk, the squaw sachem of the Sa- 
koimets, and her devoted band were surroimded, 
the entire remnant of the tribe nmnbering ninety- 
six were killed. When Tuspaquin, the "Black 
Sachem" of Assawamsett, gave himself up on the 
promise of a captaincy imder Church, the first thing 


that was done was to confront him with a firing 
squad to see if he was bullet proof, the pretense 
being that this was the condition on which the 
promise depended — a condition undoubtedly added 
after he had surrendered, for no one ever accused 
Tuspaquin of being so devoid of reason as to volun- 
tarily give himself up on a promise with such a 
string as that attached to it. 

They were vindictive, in the words of the men 
who exposed the head of Weetamo, the squaw sa- 
chem of Pocasset, on a pole at Taimton; who 
divided with the Mohicans, Niantics and Pequots 
the "glory of destroying so great a prince" as 
Canonchet, one shooting him, another cutting off 
his head and quartering his body and another burn- 
ing the quarters. They were vindictive according 
to the testimony of the men who exposed the head 
of PhiUp on a pole at Plymouth for more than 
twenty years, after quartering his body and hanging 
the quarters in the trees where he fell; and who sold 
his wife and child (the grandson of Massasoit) into 
slavery with thousands of other captives. 

They were false and treacherous, say the men who 
again and again promised amnesty to such as would 
come in and give themselves up, and, when they 
came in by hundreds, shot the leaders and sold the 
others into slavery. Compare this with Awashonk's 
conduct when Captain Church came to treat with 
her and found himself surrounded by her warriors. 
She had made no promises, and yet he came to con- 
fer, and she would not allow him to be injured. 
Search the white man's record of the entire war 


and you will grow weary in searching before you 
will find three instances of common decency on the 
part of the whites to parallel the three I am about 
to relate. 

When the Indians approached Providence in 
1676, Roger Wilhams went out alone to meet them 
to try to dissuade them from their purpose of at- 
tacking the town. He was seventy-seven years of 
age. "Massachusetts," said he, "can raise thou- 
sands of men at this moment, and if you kill them, 
the king of England will supply their places as fast 
as they fall." "Let them come," repUed the 
savages, "we are ready. But as for you, Brother 
Williams, you are a good man. You have been kind 
to us many years. Not a hair of your head shall be 
touched." And they kept their promise. 

At the commencement of hostiUties at Swansea, 
the Indians captured two yoimg sons of Sergeant 
Hugh Cole and carried them to their camp. King 
Philip, on hearing of this, ordered that no harm 
should be done them, and sent a guard to ehield 
them from danger till they should arrive home; for 
as this "cruel, bloodthirsty, vindictive, false and 
treacherous" savage said, "their father sometime 
showed me kindness." King PhiUp, on the return 
of the boys, sent word to Sergeant Cole that it 
would be better to remove his family from Swansea, 
as it might not be in his power to prevent the In- 
dians from doing them injury. Cole took his ad- 
vice and removed his family to the island of Rhode 
Island; and they were not out of sight of their 
house when it was fired by the Indians. 


There was a man named James Brown living in 
Swansea who was under the special protection of 
King PhiUp, who ordered his people to do no harm 
to him, because, as he said, his father (Massasoit) 
in his life time, had charged him to show kindness 
to Mr. Brown. 

Find an instance in all the history of that war 
which shows a Colonist manifesting any gratitude 
for kindnesses if you can; point out a case where 
one of them refrained from staining his hands with 
the blood of Indian men, women and children, be- 
cause a parent, fifteen years or more before, had re- 
quested that kindness be shown; and you will show 
a man competent to pass judgment on the Indians. 

Place their records in parallel columns, and com- 
pare them carefully, with nothing to indicate which 
is the white man's record and which is the Indian's, 
and you will have difficulty in determining, with 
the chances strongly in favor of your making a mis- 
take; consider them as they stand, knowing which 
is the white man's and which the Indian's, and you 
will find no difficulty in concluding that the terms 
civilized Christian and savage pagan are reversed; 
and that, as shown by their records, they should be 
savage Christian and civilized pagan. 

The Indian "never forgave an injury, nor forgot 
a benefit." The latter part of this saying is proven 
true by the three historical anecdotes I have just 
related. The white man, of that period, never for- 
gave an injury or remembered a benefit, except as 
ground for demanding another. And these are the 
men from whom we secure the information upon 


which we are to pass judgment on the Indian char- 
acter; or rather whose estimate of that character 
we are asked to accept as final and conclusive. 
Fortunately for the memory of the lost race, their 
enemies have left enough behind in their records to 
enable men who look at those records without passion 
or prejudice to reverse the judgment. 



AMERICA, at the time of its discovery by- 
Europeans, was peopled by a race whose origin 
has ever remained a matter of conjecture; whence 
they came and their relationship, if any, to other 
peoples who then occupied or had occupied other 
portions of the known world has remained one of 
the unsolved problems of the race; nor is it of any 
particular interest except as an abstract question of 
ethnology whether they were the descendents of the 
lost tribes of Israel or of the Hyksos, or Shepherd 
Kings of Egypt, or of the Tyrians, each of which 
had played its part in the drama of life and dis- 
appeared from the stage. Whether they had in 
some remote period crossed from the Eastern hemi- 
sphere, or were indigenous to the soil are problems 
that arouse the interest of the student of sociology, 
because they raise the question whether the Indians 
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had relapsed 
into a state of at least semi-barbarism from the 
civilization of Europe, Asia and Northern Africa as 
developed centuries before, or had advanced by 
slow stages from the more complete barbarism of 
primitive men. 



For the purpose of this work, we will take them 
as they were, leaving the problem of their origin and 
development to be discussed, or fiu-ther discussed, 
by scientists in the hope that, as matter of abstract 
knowledge, the wisdom of future ages may pene- 
trate the veU. Taking them as the Europeans 
found them, ethnologists teU us that the territory 
now included within the bounds of the United 
States, excluding Alaska and the islands of the 
seas, was occupied by seven distinct families, three 
of which, the Algonquin, Iroquois and Appalachian, 
sometimes called the Mobihan, were east of the 
Mississippi River. 

As our interest at this time is limited to those 
tribes located in Southern New England, I shall not 
make further reference to the latter group which lay 
south of the Carolinas, nor to the Iroquois except to 
call attention to their activities, as those activities 
affected the Algonquin tribes located along the 
shores of the rivers, lakes and sea and in the forest 
fastnesses of New England. 

Of the Iroquois, or Hodenosaunee, as they called 
themselves, the Five Nations of New York were 
the dominant league, and eventually, being joined 
by a sixth, th\is making them the six nations, as 
they are frequently called, they overcame and ab- 
sorbed the other tribes of their own race; and so in 
later times the six nations and Iroquois became 
ahnost identical in meaning. The original five 
nations were the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, 
CajTigas and Senecas. The Tuscaroras had at 
some earher time broken away and settled on the 


coast and streams of the Carolinas, where they 
maintained themselves against the hostile attacks 
of Algonquins and Appalachians for generations, but 
were eventually reimited with their ancient brethren. 
The subjugated Iroquois tribes, the remnants of 
which were absorbed by the five nations, were the 
Hurons or Wyandots, Eries and Andastes. Whence 
they came, to have thus settled themselves in the 
limited territory they occupied, entirely surroimded 
by Algonquins, is uncertain. They themselves have 
three traditions concerning the matter, one of which 
tells us that they came from the north, another 
that they came from the west, and the third that 
they sprang from the soil of New York State. 

The totemic clan seems to have been more highly 
developed among them than among the Algonquins, 
the several tribes, independently of their tribal rela- 
tions, being united in eight such clans, the members 
of which were bound together by ties stronger than 
those of tribal relationship, intermarriage between 
members of the same clan being prohibited, though 
allowed between members of the same tribe but of 
different clans. 

Francis Parkman, Jr., than whom no historian 
has taken greater pains to secure absolute accmacy, 
says of them: "They extended their conquests and 
their depradations from Quebec to the Carolinas, 
and from the Western prairies to the forests of 
Maine. On the South they forced tribute from the 
subjugated Delawares and pierced the mountain 
fastnesses of the Cherokees with incessant forays. 
On the North they uprooted the ancient settlement 


of the Wyandots, on the West they exterminated 
the Eries and the Andastes, and spread havoc and 
dismay around the tribes of the lUinois; and on the 
East the Indians of New England fled at the first 
peal of the Mohawk War Cry. Their war parties 
roamed over half America, and their name was a 
terror from the Atlantic to the Mississippi; but 
when we ask the numerical strength of the dreaded 
confederacy, when we discover that, in the days of 
their greatest triumphs, their united cantons could 
not have mustered four thousand warriors, we 
stand amazed at the folly and dissension which left 
so vast a region the prey of a handful of bold ma- 

From this it is readily seen that they were a war- 
like people, dreaded by the Algonquins everywhere, 
by whom they seem to be known simply as Mo- 
hawks, this being perhaps the dominant tribe in 
the league. The period of their greatest triumph 
appears to have been from 1649 to 1672, for it was 
then that they subjugated their own kindred tribes, 
the Hurons, Eries and Andastes, and overran the 

One of the peculiar customs of the Iroquois is 
worth a word in passing, and that is the rule of 
descent through the female line; that is, a chief's 
brother, sister or sister's children succeeded to the 
chieftaincy rather than his own or his brother's 
children, the reason being that by no inconstancy 
on the part of the wife of a chief or of his mother or 
sisters, was it possible that his brother, sister or 
.sister's children should not be of his own family, 


even if only through the mother, while the children 
of his wife or of his brother's wife might be no rela- 
tion to him. 

Such were the neighbors on the west of the In- 
dians of New England in whom we are more partic- 
ularly interested in connection with this work, but 
whose history is such a mixtiu'e of wars among 
themselves resulting from what appear to be suc- 
cessive waves of migration, constantly driven down 
to the New England coast through their inability to 
plant their feet on the lands preempted by the Iro- 
quois; and wars with the Mohawks themselves, 
who crowded them so close on the west that no 
sketch of the eastern Algonquins is quite complete 
without considering briefly these neighbors who had 
succeeded in some way in planting themselves upon 
or within the Algonquin territory, where they re- 
mained, a pestilential thorn in the flesh of the tribes 
surrounding them. 

Of the three eastern groups or famihes, the Algon- 
quins were undoubtedly the most numerous and ex- 
tended over the largest expanse of territory. Their 
dominion, excepting the region south of Lakes Erie 
and Ontario, and the peninsula between these lakes 
and Lake Huron, which was occupied by the Iro- 
quois, extended from Hudson's Bay to the Carolinas 
and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and Lake 
Winnipeg. To quote again from Parkman: "They 
were Algonquins who greeted Jacques Cartier, as 
his ships ascended the St. Lawrence. The first 
British Colonists found savages of the same race 
himting and fishing along the coasts and inlets of 


Virginia, and it was the daughter of an Algonquin 
chief who interceded with her father for the life of 
the adventuresome Englishman. They were Algon- 
quins, who, imder Sassacus the Pequot and Philip 
of Mt. Hope, waged deadly war against the Puri- 
tans of New England, who dwelt at Pennacook under 
the rule of the great magician, Passaconaway, and 
trembled before the evil spirits of the Crystal Hills; 
and who sang Aves and told their beads in the forest 
chapel of Father Easles, by the banks of the Kenne- 
bec. They were Algonquins, who under the great 
tree at Kensington, made the covenant of peace 
with William Penn." 

In the year 1000 when Thorvald with his viking 
crew sought to establish a colony at Vinland, this 
group of the American Indians was limited to much 
narrower confines. The skroellings whom he en- 
countered and at whose hands he met his fate, during 
the five centuries that elapsed between his adven- 
turous attempt and the next recorded visits of Euro- 
peans, had been driven north by advancing waves of 
Algonquin migration; and their descendants are 
still occupying the frozen regions of the far north. 
Esquimau, we call them, signifying in the Algonquin 
tongue, "Eaters of Raw Fish." "What took place 
during those five centuries is matter of conjecture; 
but there are certain historical facts that make it 
possible to draw inferences supported by reason. 

The Leni Lenapee, in their own tongue, the Loups 
of the French, the Delawares of the Enghsh, call 
themselves the parent stock of the Algonquin group, 
and their claim seems to be admitted by the other 


branches. The name by which they designate 
themselves means "original men," and in speaking 
of or to the members of other tribes of the family, 
they used the terms, Uttle brothers, children, grand- 
children or nephews, and the other tribes referred 
to them as father or grandfather. 

So it is likely that the Algonquia group had its 
origin, or at some remote time had established itself, 
in the vicinity of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland 
and eastern Pennsylvania, and as its original limits 
became too narrow it spread out to the North, the 
East, the South and the West in successive waves 
of migration, each driving the preceding one fiuiiher 
and further away from the home of its fathers. 

Schoolcraft beheves that the Wolf Totem, or 
Mohicans, were the first of the three clans of the 
Lenapee to migrate, locating near Albany, whence 
they were driven over the Hoosic and Pekonet ranges 
into the valley of the Housatonic; and Gallatin 
says this was the only one of the subdivisions to 
leave their ancient hunting grounds. Neither ex- 
presses any opinion whether they were forced east- 
ward from the Hudson by other migratory bands of 
Algonquins from the parent stock or by the Iro- 
quois; and there appears to be nothing in the works 
of early historians that furnishes any evidence, 
gathered by men who have made a study of Indian 
lore and traditions at their sources, whether the Iro- 
quois were there before the Algonquins in such 
strength that they could not be forced back, but 
allowed the latter to sweep around them, or came 
down from the west or north and met the advanc- 


ing movement of the Algonquin migration and 
drove a wedge in it which could not be dislodged. 

Schoolcraft thinks it probable that the Pequots, 
who, in the beginning of the seventeenth century 
were in the ascendency in the Mohican federation, 
were true Mohicans, and that the wars waged 
between Sassacus the Pequot and Uncas the Mohi- 
can were family rows for the sovereignty of the 
federation. In speaking of the Pequot war in 
which that tribe, with its six or seven himdred 
fighting men, was wiped out he says, "By this de- 
feat the Mohicans, a minor branch of the federa- 
tion, under the government of Uncas gained the 
ascendency in Connecticut." The whole matter of 
tribal relations is so much in doubt that speculation 
is almost useless, and yet it has a fascination that 
makes it difficult to leave. 

Major Daniel Gookin, who commanded the 
Middlesex regiment in King Philip's war, writing in 
1674, which would be just before that war broke 
out, enumerates as the five principal "nations" of 
New England, the "Pequots, including the Mohi- 
cans, and occupjang the eastern part of the state of 
Connecticut; the Narragansetts, occupying nearly 
all of Rhode Island; the Pawkimnawkuts or Wam- 
panoags, chiefly within the jurisdiction of Plymouth 
Colony; the Massachusetts, in the bay of that 
name and adjacent parts; and the Pawtuckets 
north and east of the Massachusetts, including the 
Pennacooks of New Hampshire, and probably all 
the northeastern tribes as far as the Abenakis or 
Tarrateens, as they seem to have been called by the 


New England Indians." The Nipmucks he men- 
tions as living north of the Mohicans and west of the 
Massachusetts, occupying the central part of that 
state, and acknowledging to a certain extent, the 
supremacy of the Massachusetts, the Narragansetts 
or the Mohicans. Other writers also assert that 
some of their tribes were tributary to the Wam- 
panoags, and there is very good reason for believing 
this to be true. 

These federations comprise the tribes with which 
the earliest colonists were brought directly in con- 
tact, and, consequently in the pursuit of the sub- 
ject in which we are particularly interested, further 
mention of the Indians of New England wiU be 
limited for the most part to them. In passing, how- 
ever, a glance at some of the other tribes whom 
Gookin groups as Abenakis or Tarrateens, will not 
be out of place. 

Other writers apply the term Abenaki to a much 
narrower limit, confining it to the Micmacs of 
Nova Scotia, called Souriquois by the French, the 
Abenaki, now called the St. Francis, in Canada, 
and the Passamaquoddies and Penobscots of Maine, 
which four tribes or federations are said to have 
called themselves not Abenaki, that being the name 
of one of them, but "Wabanaid," an Algonquin 
word meaning white or light, and believed to refer 
to the fact that they were the first upon whom the 
light of the Sim rested as he started in his daily 
journey across the heavens. 

The Micmacs, Passamaquoddies and Penobscots 
appear to have been extremely rich in folklore. 


myth and legend, an interesting collection of which 
was made by Charles G. Leland ia 1884 under the 
title of "Algonquin Legends of New England." As 
one of the sources of his authority for these legends 
and traditions, Leland tells us that the Wampum 
Records of the Passamaquoddies were read for him 
by "Sapiel Selmo, the only living Indian who had 
the key to them." 

Whatever subdivisions may have existed among 
them, or whatever federations made up of various 
closely related tribes; whatever potency there may 
have been in their totemic bonds; whatever civil 
wars may have rent them asunder, this fact we 
know, that from the time of our earliest knowledge 
of this part of the world after the Saga of Thorvald, 
until their practical extermination, aU of New Eng- 
land was peopled by tribes of this great Algonquin 
family. To attempt an enumeration of them would 
be useless; their name is legion; and most of them 
are long since forgotten, except as they have left 
their names indeUbly stamped upon the places they 
once inhabited, the mountains from whose summits 
their watch &es burned as they surveyed from the 
lofty heights the country round, and the streams 
upon whose silvery bosoms they paddled their 
Ught canoes 

A few of the more powerful tribes, or, in some 
cases, federations, have made such an impress upon 
the Ufe of the colonists, with whom the history of 
America, as it is today, begins, that their names 
and exploits have been handed down to us by the 
writers of that history; and a remnant of what was 


once a proud and powerful people in some few cases 
remains to remind their conquerors how futile were 
the efforts of the children of nature to withstand the 
onward sweep of a higher civiUzation than they had 
attained. Among the latter are the Passamaquod- 
dies, some five or six hundred of whom still occupy 
a small portion of their ancient himting groimds in 
eastern Maine; the Penobscots, who in the early 
part of the seventeenth century occupied the beau- 
tiful valley of the river and the shores of the bay 
from which time has not been able to efface their 
name, and in which river two islands still furnish a 
home for the five or six hundred remaining members 
of the tribe; and the Gay Heads, the descendants of 
the tribe that under the Sachem Epenow, in the 
Pilgrims' time occupied Capawack or Nope, now 
Martha's Vineyard, together with a few scattering 
members of other tribes distributed throughout 
Massachusetts; to say nothing of the few hundred 
descendants of the Mohicans who fought under Un- 
cas, and a like nimiber in whose veins flows the 
blood of the warriors who followed the three great 
Narragansett Chiefs, Canonicus, Miantonomo and 

Many of these have by intermarriage almost lost 
their identity, and even those who stiU cling to the 
lands allotted to them by the governments, are for 
the most part so crossed with other races that they 
would not, in most instances, be recognized as the 
descendants of the men our fathers found here three 
hundred years ago. 

The Passamaquoddies and Penobscots are as 


much French as Indian, and nearly all the natives 
of Massachusetts have mingled the blood of the 
Indian with that of the African, Schoolcraft say- 
ing in 1850 that there were not more than seven or 
eight full blooded Indians among the eight hundred 
and forty-seven in the state. Occasionally one meets 
a family who would never be suspected of being 
anything but the purest whites, but who boast the 
blood of the children of the forest. 

Among the tribes that have left their names in- 
deUbly stamped upon the localities in which they 
hved, but were not so closely connected with the 
earliest settlements as to have been active partici- 
pants in the scenes enacted there, and consequently 
have not received the particular attention of his- 
torians, and have left no sufficient surviving rem- 
nant of their former strength to perpetuate their 
memory through their posterity, one notes with in- 
terest the Keimebecs, whose lordly river still flows 
down to the sea through their ancient hunting 
grounds with the same calm and peaceful movement 
in the seasons of low water, and the same torrential 
rush when the sun in his northward travels unfetters 
its thousand feeding brooks and springs, as in the 
days when the children of the forest dipped their 
dusky bodies in its cooUng waters; the Norridge- 
wocks, who dwelt farther back towards the head- 
waters of the same river, and whose name will not 
be forgotten as long as the people of Norridgewock, 
Maine, tell their children that their town derives its 
name from the Indians whose children listened to 
the folklore and songs of their people at their 


mothers' knees on this same spot three centuries 
ago; the Androscoggins who dipped their paddles 
noiselessly into the waters of the noble river that 
now turns the wheels of hundreds of mills, but will 
not allow the name of its first navigators to be sunk 
in obhvion; the Piscataquas who dwelt about the 
place where now a government navy yard gives 
shelter to men of war beside which the frail bark 
canoes of the natives are as the fingerlings of the 
shore beside the leviathans of the deep, and who 
have left their name upon the river that "widens to 
meet the sea" at Portsmouth; and the Pemaquids, 
who little dreamed when they heaped the shells of 
clams and other edible mollusks iu huge piles along 
the shore, that they were erecting a monvunent to 
themselves, to be gazed at in wonder by generations 
of their destroyers; and whose name still clings to 
the places they once roamed at will. 

Other powerful federations there were whose 
friendship or hostility were matters of life or death 
to hundreds, aye, even thousands of the early ad- 
venturers who attempted to establish upon these 
shores homes for themselves and their posterity, 
adventtners only in the sense that they ventured 
everjiihing, even life itself, upon a throw of the 
dice of fate. Drake speaks of five great Sachem- 
ries, the Pequots, Narragansetts, Wampanoags, 
Massachusetts, and Pawtuckets, and he speaks of 
them as though they were the only five federations 
in New England worthy the dignity of that desig- 
nation, following Gookin iu this respect; but it may 
be doubted whether some of these ever held in com- 


plete subordination many of the tribes which were 
at times closely associated with them. An illus- 
tration of this is seen in the Connecticut River In- 
dians of various tribal designations, the Mohicans 
and Niantics who were among the deadly enemies 
of the Pequots, by whom they were conquered and 
reduced to such a state of subjugation that they 
may perhaps have been fairly coxmted as of the Pe- 
quot nation in the early colonial days. 

The Tarratines. — Another interesting group 
whose identity is not clearly established, is that 
known in New England history as Tarratines, Tar- 
rateens or Tarrentines, as the name is variously 
spelled. Who they were or whence they came is one 
of history's imsolved problems. That they were 
able to muster powerful raiding parties is clearly 
shown by the success with which they carried out 
their plundering expeditions against the tribes of 
Massachusetts and Wampanoags before the pesti- 
lence had decimated these two federations. That 
they were raiders and plunderers is clearly estab- 
lished by the testimony of contemporary writers, 
part of whose information was gleaned from the 
sufferers from their expeditions. The great inva- 
sion of Massachusetts and Wampanoag territories 
sometime between 1615 and 1617 is accepted as a 
historical fact; Bradford speaks of the Massachu- 
setts being in fear of them in September, 1621, that 
being the season of their visitations to "reap where 
they have not sowed"; and Drake tells of an attack 
made by them upon the Indians at Agawam (Ips- 
wich) in August, 1631, in which they killed seven. 


In the Planters' Plea they are spoken of as a 
predatory tribe living fifty or sixty leagues to the 
northeast (of Massachusetts Bay); and it is there 
said that they raised no corn on account of the cli- 
mate, but came down and reaped the Massachusetts 
Indians' harvest. Drake speaks of them as lying 
east of the Pawtuckets, and also as lying east of 
the Piscataqua River, which would place them 
almost anywhere in Maine, as he does not attempt 
to give their precise limits. Albert Gallatin in his 
Archaeologia Americana, in which he calls the five 
federations of Southern New England by the gen- 
eral designation New England Indians, says the 
dividing line between these latter and the Abenaki 
was somewhere between the Piscataqua and the 
Kennebec, and cites Governor Sullivan as authority 
for placing it at the Saco River. He also calls at- 
tention to what he calls a confirmation of this by 
French writers who mention a tribe which they 
call the Sakokies, adjacent to the Abenaki and 
the New England Indians, and which was originally 
in aUiance with the Iroquois, but were converted by 
the Jesuits and withdrew into Canada. Other 
writers locate the Tarratines definitely east of the 
Penobscot, which would bring them between the 
Passamaquoddies and the Penobscots imless they 
were, indeed, roving members of one or both of these 
tribes. Gallatin makes no other mention of them 
as a tribe than to quote from Gookin, who speaks of 
the "Abenakis or Tarrateens, as they are called by 
the New England Indians." The two names are 
used by Gookin to designate all the Indians east of 


the Pawtuckets, and Schoolcraft accepts thia classi- 
fication. Gallatin further says: "The tribes of 
Nova Scotia in the Bay of Fundy were first called 
by the French Souriquois. They are now known 
as Micmacs. The French adopted the names given 
by the Souriquois to the neighboring tribes. The 
Etchemins, stretching from the Passamaquoddy 
Bay to St. John's Island and west of the Kennebec 
River as far as Cape Cod, they called the Almou- 

Etchemins means canoe men, and may well have 
been apphed to the bold canoe men of all the shore 
tribes who navigated the deep waters of the sea, 
and Almouchiquois would then mean the same. If 
we attempt to give it any other meaning we are 
forced to the conclusion that the French or the Mic- 
macs, whichever first defined their limits as above, 
knew very Kttle about the people to the southwest, 
or that every one else is very much mistaken. Con- 
tinuing Gallatin says: "The Indians at the mouth 
of the Kennebec planted nothing according to 
Champlain, but those further inland or up the river 
planted maize. These inland tribes were the Abe- 
nakis, consisting of several tribes, the principal of 
which were the Penobscots, the Norridgewocks and 
the Ameriscoggins, and it is not improbable that the 
Indians at the mouth of both rivers were con- 
founded by Champlain with the Etchemins belong- 
ing to the same nation. The Etchemins comprise 
the Passamaquoddies in the United States and the 
St. John's in New Bnmswick." In another para- 
graph he says that Champlain found no cultivation 


of the soil from Passamaquoddy Bay to the Kenne- 
bec River. 

The French writers' reference to a tribe between 
the Abenaki and the New England Indians is inter- 
esting from two points. They were in alliance with 
the Iroquois, which leads to the inquiry whether 
they may not have been a branch of that group, 
sprung from some of their war parties who overcame 
the tribe occupying the location where the French 
found them, slaughtered the warriors, and took the 
women to their own wigwams, and settled down 
upon the conquered territory. Were they the Tar- 
ratines? The warlike propensity of the Iroquois 
manifests itself in the Tarratine raids; but against 
this theory is the fact that the Iroquois were ad- 
vanced agriculturalists, and the "Tarratines raised 
no corn "; and the further fact that the region where 
nothing was planted was at the mouth of the Ken- 
nebec and east of it, while this mysterious tribe, 
which appears to have escaped the notice of the 
English writers, lived west of that river. I do not 
advance any opinion, but simply call attention to 
this matter as an interesting subject for speculation. 

If we attempt to reconcile all the apparently con- 
flicting statements concerning these people, we are 
forced to the conclusion that the Etchemins or Al- 
mouchiquois were the dwellers along the coast, 
experts in handling their frail barks, daring navi- 
gators of various tribes, but not a distinct tribe; 
that Abenaki was a term applied generally to a large 
group of tribes covering Maine, New Bnmswick 
and Nova Scotia, the name undoubtedly being de- 


rived from the same root as "Wabanaki" which as 
already noted means light; that Tarratine was not 
the name of any tribe but a term apphed to the raid- 
ing parties which visited the Massachusetts coast; 
and if the statement in the Planter's Plea that they 
planted no corn is correct, and Champlain's definite 
location of the people who planted nothing is re- 
liable, then the Tarratines were Abenaki, hving 
east of the Kennebec River or at its mouth; they 
were Etchemins, or bold navigators; they planted 
nothing, not as said in the Planter's Plea "on ac- 
count of the climate," for the tribes "farther inland 
cultivated maize"; but because they preferred to 
secure their supply of corn by reaping their neigh- 
bors' harvest. 

The Pennacooks. — Gookin, Drake and School- 
craft speak of the federation, sometimes called Pen- 
nacooks, as Pawtuckets, but in his last speech, 
Passaconaway, their sachem, uses the term Penna- 
cooks in such a way as to indicate that this was the 
name apphed to all his people. It may, however, 
be that Passaconaway or some of his predecessors, 
was originally the sachem of the Pennacooks, and 
that this was the dominant tribe in the Pawtucket 
federation, just as appears to have been the situa- 
tion with relation to the Pokanokets and the Wam- 
panoags. As we shall not have occasion again to 
refer particularly to the Pennacooks, a word about 
its aged sachem, Passaconaway, and his son and 
successor, Wonolancet, may well be written here in 
passing. Passaconaway resided at Pawtucket Falls 
(Lowell), had an alliance with the Penobscots, and 


was a friend of Eliot, the celebrated preacher among 
the Indians, but did not appear to be particulary 
interested in the religion he preached until 1648. 
It appears that in 1642, the settlers, becoming dis- 
trustful of Passaconaway in consequence of rumors 
that he was stirring up discord among the Indians, 
sent men to arrest him and his son Wonolancet. 
Passaconaway succeeded in evading them through 
the intervention of a storm that raged with con- 
siderable violence, but they took Wonolancet and 
led him away with a rope around his neck, for by 
such acts they sought to inspire terror in the hearts 
of the natives rather than, by acts of consideration, 
to inspire confidence. Wonolancet escaped but was 
retaken and brought to Boston. This act made 
Passaconaway suspicious of the English and of their 
motives, and imdoubtedly served to widen the 
breach between the two races that had abeady re- 
sulted from some arbitrary acts on the part of the 
English, and which finally culminated in King 
Philip's war; and it is given by some early writers 
as a reason for Passaconaway's refusal to see Eliot 
when he made a visit to the Falls in the fishing 
season of 1647, The following year, however, he 
heard him preach, and publicly annoimced his behef 
in the God of the English. 

In 1660 he turned over the active direction of the 
affairs of his tribe to Wonolancet, his son, and soon 
after died, it is said at the age of one himdred and 
twenty years. Wonolancet wielded the sceptre until 
1667 and maintained friendly relations with the 
whites during aU that time. In 1660, probably on 


the occasion of his surrendering the tomahawk of 
authority to Wonolancet, a great feast was given at 
Pawtucket Falls in his honor, which was attended 
not only by his own people but by chiefs and war- 
riors from other tribes. On this occasion, he de- 
livered his farewell address as reported by early 
writers as follows: 


" Hearken to the words of your father ! I 
am an old oak that has withstood the 
storms of more than a hundred winters. 
Leaves and branches have been stripped 
from me by the winds. My eyes are dim; 
my limbs totter; I must soon fall. When 
yoimg, no one could bury the hatchet in the 
sapling before me. My arrows could pierce 
the deer at a himdred rods. No wigwam 
had so many fvu-s, no pole had so many 
scalplocks as Passaconaway's. Then I de- 
Ughted in war. The whoop of the Penna- 
cooks was heard on the Mohawk, and no 
voice as loud as Passaconaway's. The 
scalps upon the pole in my wigwam told 
the story of Mohawk suffering. The Eng- 
lish came; they seized the lands; they fol- 
lowed upon my footpaths. I made war 
upon them but they fought with fire and 
thunder. My young men were swept down 
before me when no one was near them. I 
tried sorcery against them but they still in- 


creased, and prevailed over me and mine; I 
gave place to them and retired to my beau- 
tiful island, Naticook. I, who can take the 
rattlesnake in my pahn as I would a worm 
without harm — I, that have had com- 
munication with the Great Spirit, dream- 
ing and awake — I am powerless before 
the pale faces. These meadows they shall 
turn with the plow; these forests shall fall 
by the axe; the pale faces shall live upon 
your hunting grounds and make their vil- 
lages upon yoiir fishing places. The Great 
Spirit says this and it must be so. We are 
few and powerless before them. We must 
bend before the storm. Peace with the 
white men is the command of the Great 
Spirit and the wish — the last wish — of 

I have already referred to the Leni Lenapee as 
the parent stock of the Algonquins; and to the fact 
of their subjugation by the Five Nations at some 
time between 1649 and 1672; but as I did not call 
attention to the depth of their degradation, this chap- 
ter would hardly be complete without fiuthur ref- 
erence to it. So complete was their defeat and 
submission to their conquerors, that they were com- 
pelled to forego the use of arms and to assume the 
name of "women." So when Penn made his fa- 
mous treaty with them in 1682, he treated with 
"women" and not with warriors. 

When the Five Nations afterwards allotted land 


to them, and they were crowded by the encroach- 
ments of settlers, they moved even further west 
than they were ordered, and espoused the cause of 
the French in their wars with the Enghsh. 

At the outbreak of the revolution they declared 
their independence of their conquerors, and a few 
years later at a public council, the Five Nations con- 
fessed that the Lenapee were no longer women but 
men; and thus the stock that had peopled nearly 
all the north-eastern part of the continent came 
into its own again. At the time of which we write 
they had not been reduced to a state of vassalage, 
but were still the grandfather of the other tribes of 
the Algonquin family and lived in their ancient 
hunting grounds, a free people, just as their de- 
scendants lived in all the vast territory the hmits 
of which I have already outlined. 

Here they and their children of the other tribes 
fished the streams whose banks are now hned with 
the cities of the strangers from across the great 
waters whom they welcomed with open arms, and 
who repaid their hospitahty by waging upon them 
a perpetual war of extermination. Here they hunted 
the primeval forests, which the settlers' axe has laid 
low that the giant trees might contribute to the re- 
quirements of a people to whom the Indian methods 
of living were but a tradition of the past. Here, 
too, their war whoops resounded as they waged 
their internecine war upon each other; and here, 
when the tomahawk had been buried, they smoked 
the pipe of peace, and its smoke ascending wafted 
their prayers to the Great Spirit, whose existence 


revealed itself to them in every object that came 
withia range of their observation. 

The Wampanoags, Narragansetts, Pequots and 
Mohicans were so closely associated with the vari- 
ous affairs growing out of the first contact of the 
whites with Massasoit and his Wampanoags that I 
shall consider them further in subsequent chapters, 
which will also contain occasional reference to the 
Massachusetts; and, as the individuahty of the sa- 
chems was a potent factor in the attitude of their 
tribes, due attention will be given to the prominent 
leaders of their people. 



DECEMBER 7, 1620 (December 17, new style) 
found the Mayflower lying inside of Cape 
Cod. This locality, and particularly "the place 
that on Captain John Smith's map is called PU- 
moth," had been highly recommended to them as a 
suitable location for the establishment of a perma- 
nent settlement. They had been on shipboard for 
a long time, the life was becoming irksome, and 
they were desirous of effecting a landing before the 
Sabbath which was approaching, and on which, in 
their reUgious zeal, there could be no question of 
work. So they sent their shallop ashore in search 
of a suitable spot. The shallop made a landing at 
Nauset, now Eastham, a place which derived its 
name from that of the tribe of Indians located there, 
which we find mentioned frequently m the writings 
of the early chroniclers. The boat's crew spent the 
night there, and in the early morning they were 
alarmed by the sentry whom they had posted, and 
who announced the presence of Indians. This 
alarm was followed by a demonstration against the 
camp. The natives were soon driven off by the 
discharge of the muskets of the English, who then 
returned to their ship. After this, their first en- 


counter with the aboriginal inhabitants of the land, 
they were not further annoyed by them until the 
following February, when they began to show them- 
selves from time to time about the settlement at 
Plymouth, always holding themselves aloof, how- 
ever, until the sixteenth of March, when Samoset 
made his memorable visit with the details of which 
every reader of American history is familiar. 

Colonel Robert B. Caverly in his account of the 
early Indian wars speaks of Aspinet, who was sa- 
chem of Nauset at that time, as a Mohandsick. 
The people of this name were located on Long 
Island and the question naturally arises, how came 
this detached tribe of Mohandsicks, whose war 
strength ia 1621 was said to be one hundred warriors, 
to be so separated from the rest of their kindred? 
The Mohandsicks, Hke the Manhattans of lower 
New York, probably were Mohicans, or at least 
more closely related to the latter than to any other 
of the numerous branches of the Algonquin family; 
and, while it does not appear that there had been 
any hostility between the Mohicans and the Wam- 
panoags, perhaps because of the fact that their 
hunting grounds were separated by those of the 
Narragansetts, it seems rather out of the ordinary 
course that we would expect migrations to take for 
this tribe to separate itself from the remainder of 
its people and isolate itself down on the end of 
Cape Cod in Wampanoag territory. There would 
be but two ways for them to have reached that 
point, one by water, which with their limited faciU- 
ties for making such long journeys seems imprac- 


ticable, though not impossible, and the other by- 
crossing Narragansett and Wampanoag territory, 
which could be done only if they were on friendly 
terms; unless, indeed, they were a detached body of 
Mohandsicks, who had settled on the mainland very 
early in the period of migration and had been swept 
down to the extreme end of the Cape by succeeding 
waves, and had there been able to maintain them- 
selves, or had been allowed to remain immolested. 

None of these theories is impossible, as we have 
seen the Tuscaroras separating themselves from the 
other nations of the Iroquois and, either crossing 
leagues of Algonquin territory, or following the 
coast in their frail canoes, settling on the coast of 
the Carolinas. 

Wbatever may have been the most intimate 
racial connection of the Nausets, there can be no 
doubt that at the time of which I am writing, they 
were subjects of the Great Sachem of the Wampa- 
noags, although, as we shall see hereafter, they did 
not hesitate at times to engage in conspiracies 
against the whites without the sanction of their 
great chief. It may be that other tribes in the 
eastern part of the Wampanoag domain, such as the 
Manomets, Monamoyicks, Paomets, Sawkattuckets, 
Matakes, Nobsquossets, and Sokones, and perhaps 
the Nantuckets and the Capawacks, were more 
closely related to the Nausets than to the western 
tribes of the Wampanoag federation, which seem to 
have centered about the Pokanokets. They were 
all Algonquins, and probably, originally all of the 
Totem of the Wolf, the various subdivisions result- 


ing from the spreading out process by which a group 
became separated from the parent stock, thus form- 
ing a nation within the family, and eventually ac- 
quiring a distinct dialect; and no doubt, in many 
instances, absorbing tribes that had originally 
formed a part of some other wave of migration, and 
so belonged to some other nation. 

In any event, the Nausets, with all the other 
tribes on the cape and the islands, were, to all in- 
tents and purposes, Wampanoags at the time of 
their demonstration against the crew of the shallop 
on December 8, 1620; and so it was the Wampa- 
noags who first greeted the Pilgrims, though the 
greeting was far from being a welcome, the actual 
welcome being extended nearly three months later 
by a sagamore of Monhigan "two days' sail with a 
strong wind" to the northeast. 

If our conclusion as to the reasonable inferences 
to be drawn from the writings of early historians is 
correct, this would place him in the group desig- 
nated by Gookin, Drake, and Schoolcraft as Abe- 

Reference has already been made in general terms 
to the location of the Wampanoags as described by 
Gookin and Drake, but some doubt exists as to the 
exact extent of their territory. All are agreed that 
they held sway from the Islands and Cape Cod to 
Narragansett Bay and Providence River, and from 
the Atlantic Ocean north to the southern boimdaiy 
of the Massachusetts, who as we have seen Uved 
aroimd the bay that bears their name. Just where 
that boimdary ran is hot clear, but it is certain that 


the counties of Nantucket, Dukes, Barnstable, Ply- 
mouth, Bristol, and a considerable part of Norfolk, 
in Massachusetts, together with all of Bristol and 
Newport counties and the town of East Providence 
in Rhode Island have been carved out of the ancient 
hunting grounds of the Wampanoags. 

Colonel Caverly, who has written a very interest- 
ing account of the early Indian wars in New Eng- 
land, seems to extend the territory or dominion of 
the Wampanoags much further than any other 
writer with whose works I am familiar, and further, 
I fear, than there is any well grounded warrant for, 
as he speaks of the Massachusetts as being of that 
federation, as though the fact were established be- 
yond peradventure, and at least suggests that 
Massasoit's rule extended to and covered the Pen- 
nacooks, speaking of Passaconaway as holding sway 
"under, from and after Massasoit, from the Penob- 
scot to the Merrimack." As we have already seen, 
Gookin, who wrote only fifty-three years after the 
landing of the Pilgrims, speaks of the Massachusetts 
and the Pawtuckets or Pennacooks as independent 
federations, and it is probable that their relations 
with the Wampanoags were nothing more than 
those of allies. 

Great as is the uncertainty concerning the exact 
limits of their territory, their numerical strength at 
the time of the landing of the Pilgrims is wrapped 
in even greater obscurity and doubt. Two recent 
events, however, had reduced them to a mere ves- 
tige of their former power. The first of these was 
a raid of the Tarratines, the conflicting opinions of 


whose identity and location I have attempted to 
reconcile in part in the preceding chapter. 

The exact location of the Tarratines is of interest 
at this time only as it directs our attention to the 
distances which they traveled in making their raids 
upon the Massachusetts coast; one hundred and 
fifty to one hundred and eighty miles by water, and 
much further by land. If the raids were made by 
water, as seems probable, it certainly shows the 
Tarratines to have been daring navigators, when 
one considers the character of their craft, as far as 
known. It is recorded by men who received their 
information at first hand that they swept down on 
the coast tribes of eastern Massachusetts in 1615 or 
1616 and inflicted severe losses upon them. These 
tribes were of the Massachusetts and Wampanoags, 
and while the extent of the ravages of the invaders 
is not certainly known, there is no doubt that this 
raid considerably weakened these two federations, 
as it is claimed by some that they swept clear across 
the Wampanoag coimtry and attacked the Narra^ 
gansetts. This method of seeming a Uvelihood by 
wresting from their neighbors the fruits of their toil 
rather than by relying exclusively upon their own 
systematic efforts to sustain themselves by the pur- 
suit of the usual vocations of their kind, hunting, 
fishing and the crude cultivation of the soil, appears 
to have been characteristic of them, for Bradford 
records the fact that on September 18, 1621, the 
Plymouth settlers sent out their shallop with ten 
men, and Squanto as guide to trade with the 
Massachusetts, and to explore the bay; that they 


accomplished their purpose and "found kind en- 
tertainment. The people were much afraid of the 
Tarrentines, a people to the eastward which used 
to come in harvest time and take away their corne, 
and many times kill their persons." 

The second, and by far more disastrous visitation 
that ravaged the land of the Wampanoags, was a 
devastating pestilence which followed close on the 
heels of the Tarratine raid, and worked such havoc 
among the natives, who had no skill to combat it, 
that the early visitors from Plymouth to Massasoit's 
town Sowams, speak of seeing their bones in large 
numbers scattered along the route, the living not 
being able to bury the dead. The Patuxet tribe 
which had occupied the territory around Plymouth, 
was almost entirely wiped out by this plague, the 
exact character of which has never been definitely 
determined. While there is no doubt that the Wam- 
panoags were reduced by these two agencies to a 
mere shadow of their former strength and power, 
there is so much conflict between the writers of old 
times concerning their numbers at the time of the 
landtag of the PQgrims that we are left almost en- 
tirely to conjecture concerning the matter. Certain 
facts, however, have been handed down upon such 
rehable authority, that perhaps a careful considera- 
tion of those indisputable facts will justify us in 
making our own estimate; and this leads us to an 
examination of the extreme claims. I am unable to 
find that any contemporary writers have left any 
word from which we would be justified in assuming 
that anything like an accurate estimate of their 


numbers was ever made or attempted by the early 
colonists; so perhaps we may fairly conclude that 
the truth of the matter Ues somewhere between the 
two extremes. Some authors, who put out their 
works with the intent to convey exact information 
to their readers, tell us that this federation num- 
bered not more than three hundred in 1620, having 
been reduced to this state from a former strength 
variously estimated at anywhere from eighteen 
thousand to thirty thousand, their five thousand 
warriors mentioned by some, leaning towards the 
higher rather than the lower of these two figures. 
This three hundred may be construed in so many 
ways that before rejecting it as an absurdity, it may 
be well to consider to what the number may have 
referred. If by it is meant the entire numerical 
strength of the federation, it seems to be capable 
of complete refutation, and, on the other hand, if 
it is limited to the warriors rather than the entire 
tribal membership, it is open to grave doubt. An- 
other view is that it may have been intended to be 
confined to the village where their Great Sachem 
maintained his lodge, or to the three villages between 
which he seems to have divided a large part of his 
time. Before proceeding to a more general discus- 
sion of the numerical strength of the tribe or federa- 
tion, let us look for a moment at these three villages. 
We find Massasoit sometimes spoken of as the Sa- 
chem of the Pokanokets. Pokanoket is or was the 
geographical name of all that territory now in- 
cluded in the towns of Bristol, Warren, Barrington 
and East Providence, Rhode Island, and parts of 


Swansea, Rehoboth and Seekonk, Massachusetts. 
The Great Sachem seems to have had a more inti- 
mate connection with this portion of his domain 
than with other parts; and while the tribes in other 
locaUties had their sub-sachems or sagamores, who 
acknowledged some sort of allegiance to the Great 
Chief, there is nothing from which we would be 
justified in inferring that the Pokanokets were imder 
the direction or control of any of these secondary- 
chiefs; and it may well be that the Great Sachem 
of the Wampanoags either in Massasoit's early days, 
or in the time of some of his predecessors, was 
simply the sachem of the Pokanokets, with htmting 
grounds limited to the territory already defined; 
and that at some time a federation of related, 
neighboring and conquered tribes was formed under 
the name Wampanoag, and that he retained the 
government of his original tribe, and governed the 
other tribes through their sachems. It would be 
extremely interesting reading for us of later genera- 
tions if some savant of the early colonial period 
could have sufficiently secured the confidence of the 
contemporary mystery men of the aborigines to 
have learned from them the secrets which their 
predecessors "talked into the sacred wampum rec- 
ords" and thus handed down from father to son. 
From such sources much of historic value might 
have been learned for transmission to posterity, 
much more than the world knows of Indian legend 
and tradition. But the men who came here came 
not as seekers after knowledge concerning the char- 
acter of the coimtry, its geological formations, its 


plants, its animals, or its primitive human deni- 
zens, and most of the information that has been 
gleaned along the latter lines, has come from the 
legends and traditions passed along by the natives 
to the whites at later dates after the tribes into 
whose past we endeavor to penetrate through the 
dark clouds of obscurity and doubt had been almost 
or quite exterminated. So while the plants and 
flowers, the rocks and the wild animals have re- 
mained to tell their own story, unfortunately, we 
are left in darkness concerning many of the things 
we fain would know about the primitive race that 
has been swept away by the invaders. We are left 
largely to conjecture; and can only draw what 
seem to us to be reasonable inferences from known 
facts. In the Pokanoket coimtry, there were three 
principal villages all of which are sometimes men- 
tioned as Massasoit's dwelling places, and in and 
about which he undoubtedly spent more of his time 
than in other parts of his domain, although he un- 
questionably resorted to the other portions for 
himting and fishing and for conferences with his sub- 
sachems. These three villages were Sowams, prob- 
ably where Warren now stands, although some place 
it farther west, and their contention seems to be 
supported by an ancient map; but Gen. Guy Fes- 
senden and Virginia Baker have made out such a 
strong case for the Warren site that I do not pro- 
pose to enter into any further discussion of the 
question; Montaup, corrupted by the English into 
Mount Hope in Bristol, Rhode Island; and Kicke- 
muit on the river of the same name, and within the 


limits of the present town of Swansea, Massachu- 

Let us now return to a further consideration of 
the numerical strength of the Wampanoags in the 
early part of the seventeenth century; and, having 
referred briefly to what we may properly consider 
the minimum estimate, we will pass to the other 
extreme, and then by examining all the known facts, 
see what appears to be the reasonable conclusion to 
be drawn from those facts, not for the purpose of 
ascertaining an accurate estimate, which could be 
of no particular benefit, but for the pm-pose of 
properly appraising the value of the friendship of 
Massasoit to the early settlers; for it must be ap- 
parent that that value would be determined in part 
by his strength and standing among the various 
tribes. We may well begin this line of inquiry by 
taking the testimony of Captain Thomas Dermer, 
master of a vessel saihng here for trade and explo- 
ration. Captain Dermer was on the New England 
coast in 1619, probably not for the first time. It 
was with him that Squanto returned to his native 
land after spending some years in England. In 
1619, with Squanto as interpreter, he traveled in- 
land to Nemasket, now Middleboro, Massachusetts, 
where he held an interview with two "Kings of 
Pokanoket" of which we shall see more hereafter. 
In a letter to a friend dated June 20, 1620, Dermer 
wrote that "Squanto was carried away from a place 
that on Captain John Smith's map is called Pli- 
moth," and that "the Pocanawits" (Pokanokets) 
"which live to the west of Plimoth bear an in- 


veterate malice to the English, and are of more 
strength than all the savages from thence to the 
Penobscote." Dermer must have secured this 
knowledge from some of the natives, and it may 
not be amiss to inquire into the possible sources of 
his information and the time. To begin with the 
latter, I call particular attention to the date of the 
letter and to Dermer's voyage in 1619 and his prob- 
able earlier trips to the New World. He had un- 
doubtedly come in contact with the various tribes 
along the coast from whom he may have learned 
about the Pokanokets; and he brought Squanto 
with ^im in 1619 or on an earUer expedition. 
Squanto spoke English and was a member of one 
of the small tribes of the Wampanoag federation, so 
it is extremely probable that Dermer's information 
came from him. Squanto was carried away in 1614 
before the pestilence had decimated the tribes of 
eastern Massachusetts, and if the information was 
secured from this source, it may have referred to con- 
ditions as Squanto knew them before he left these 
parts. This is especially likely to have been the 
case if Squanto first came over with Dermer in 
1619 and had no knowledge of the ravages of the 
plague. On the other hand, if Dermer remained 
long in this vicinity at the time of his visit to Ne- 
masket, he must have learned of these ravages, and 
the combined strength of all the tribes of the Wam- 
panoags may then have been as great as he says in 
his letter of June 20, 1620. There is one important 
fact that lends color to this theory, and that is 
that the voyage inland to Nemasket was from 


Plymouth, the Patuxet of Squanto, and he, finding 
his own tribe wiped out, would undoubtedly have 
ascertained the cause on arriving at Nemasket, even 
if he had met no one to give him the information 

However that may have been, we cannot doubt 
the testimony of Bradford who writes that on 
March 16, 1621, Samoset, after welcoming the Eng- 
Ush to Patuxet, and being entertained by them over 
night, told them of a Great Sachem, "Massasoyt," 
who had sixty warriors under him, and left them 
saying he would bring him to them. On March 22, 
the Great Chief appeared with the exact number 
mentioned by Samoset. 

In the June following, when Wiaslow and Hop- 
kins visited him at Sowams for the purpose of re- 
newing and strengthening the ties of friendship 
between him and the colonists and to secure corn 
for planting, Massasoit, speaking to an assembly of 
his own people, said, "Am not I Massasoit com- 
mander of the country roimd you? Is not such a 
town mine, and such a town, and will you not bring 
your skins to the English?" In this way naming 
more than thirty villages, according to Winslow. 

We have already seen that on December 8, 1620, 
the Nausets attacked the crew of the Mayflower's 
shallop, and, while the numbers of the attacking 
party are not mentioned, there can be no doubt, 
from Bradford's description, that they were in suffi- 
cient force to make a considerable demonstration 
and cause great alarm and uneasiness, and Samoset 
is said to have told the English that Aspinet had one 


htindred warriors. In addition to the inhabitants of 
the Pokanoket country and the Nausets, both of 
which we have briefly discussed, there is abundant 
evidence that there were tribes of no mean propor- 
tions at Capawack (Martha's Vineyard), Manomet 
and Monamoyick, Sawkattucket, Nobsquosset and 
Matakes, besides that on Nantucket Island, in the 
eastern part of Massasoit's domain; at Assawam- 
sett, and Nemasket, at Sakonnet at the mouth of the 
river of the same name, and at Pocasset, or perhaps 
it would be more accurate to say in. the Sakonnet 
territory and the Pocasset territory, for the former 
extended over the southern part of Tiverton and all 
of Little Compton, Rhode Island, and the latter, 
lying immediately east of the Pokanoket territory, 
extended from Coles River in Swansea eastward at 
least four miles beyond the Taunton River, and 
from the narrows in the Sakonnet River, where the 
Tiverton Stone Bridge now stands, northward to 
the northern boundary of Freetown, including part 
of Tiverton, Rhode Island, all of Fall River, most 
of Freetown, and parts of Berkley, Dighton, Somer- 
set and Swansea, Massachusetts. The Chief of this 
tribe was Corbitant, of whom we shall see more 
later, who resided at "Mettapuyst" (Mettapoissett) 
now Gardner's Neck in Swansea. All of these were 
probably included in Massasoit's enumeration of 
"more than thirty villages," and particular atten- 
tion is called to them at this time, because there is 
reason for believing that they were fairly powerful 
tribes, and all within the Wampanoag federation. I 
have not directed particular attention to the Massa- 


chusetts, because there may be some question of 
their relation to the Wampanoags, whether they 
were of them or only allied with them, the weight of 
the evidence pointing rather to the latter idea than 
to the former; and I have disregarded entirely 
Colonel Caverly's statement concerning Passacon- 
away as previously adverted to; nor have I made 
any reference to the tribes of the Nipmucks who 
were subject to the Great Chief of the Wampanoags. 
A careful consideration of what has been said is 
sufficient to lead to the conclusion that the three 
hundred mentioned by some writers as all that re- 
mained of the thirty thousand Wampanoags that 
escaped the plague must have referred to the war- 
riors of Pokanoket alone, or the inhabitants of 
Massasoit's village of Sowams. It is hardly possible 
to have mustered the sixty warriors who accom- 
panied him to Plymouth from a total tribal mem- 
bership scattered from the Cape and Islands to the 
Providence River, as must have been done if the 
entire population was only three hundred; and it 
is not probable that Massasoit would leave his 
women and children totally unguarded in the pres- 
ence of the none too friendly Narragansetts across 
the river, who according to some historians had in 
comparatively recent years taken advantage of his 
reduced power to wage war upon him, and had 
wrested from him his beautiful island of Aquidnick. 
The distance from Sowams to Plymouth by the old 
Indian trail is said by early writers to have been 
forty miles, and the three days, at least, required 
for the journey out and back, and for the conference. 


would be a long time to leave his village unguarded 
if the Narragansetts had happened to make a raid 
at that time. What probably happened was this. 
Starting out on an expedition the outcome of which 
was problematical, Massasoit most Ukely took the 
"panieses," or men of valor, of the three villages 
already mentioned. These would undoubtedly be 
the most vigorous and active of the men who 
formed the war council, and, at the same time, were 
the warriors who followed him and were under his 
immediate command when on the war path, the 
warriors of the other tribes of the federation being 
under the immediate command of their sachems. 
If this theory is correct, it lends color to the infer- 
ence that the three hundred comprised simply the 
population of Sowams, or the warriors of Pokanoket; 
and it may well be that the writers who have placed 
this estimate on the numerical strength of the Wam- 
panoags, taking into account the well known fact 
that every place of considerable importance had its 
sub-sachem or sagamore, may have looked upon the 
people of Sowams, or possibly of Sowams and the 
territory immediately surrounding it, as all there 
was of the true Wampanoags; but I am incUned to 
believe that this name is simply the appelation of a 
confederacy of which the Pokanokets was the domi- 
nant tribe, and which was held together in part by 
the strength of that tribe, and in part by the neces- 
sity of combining to prevent the inroads of invading 
enemies. There imdoubtedly also existed some 
closer bond of relationship, closer family ties per- 
haps, among most of the federated tribes than 


between them and other branches of the great 
Algonqum family, or in other words a true Wam- 
panoag Nation with subject tribes. There is no evi- 
dence of a single tribe of this name, unless it was 
another name for the Pokanokets. There is another 
possibility that should not be overlooked in this 
connection, and that is that Massasoit may have 
started out with less than the sixty with whom he 
arrived at Plymouth and augmented his force on 
the way, although it is almost certain that he did 
not draw from the Pocassets, because there is very 
good reason for supposing that Corbitant, their sa- 
chem, was not in sympathy with Massasoit's design 
to cultivate the friendship of the English, and it is 
equally certain that Corbitant was a chief of such 
importance that his presence would have been 
noted, had he been of the party. This suggestion is 
advanced as a remote possibility, but that it is 
hardly more than that is evidenced by the fact that 
Samoset spoke of Massasoit as having sixty warriors 
under him and that was the nimiber that appeared 
with him. 

The Pocassets, as we have already seen, formed 
one of the most important branches or subdivisions 
of the Wampanoag federation. Their exact nu- 
merical strength is almost as much in doubt as is 
that of the entire branch of the Algonquin family to 
which the name "Wampanoag" is applied, although 
there is reliable authority for the claim frequently 
advanced that ' Corbitant, their Sachem in 1620, 
could muster three hundred warriors, and estimat- 
ing one warrior to five members of the tribe, this 


would give them a total of fifteen hundred, which is 
probably as near as it is possible to estimate the 
strength of any of the tribes. They lived in the ter- 
ritory immediately east of the Pokanoket country, 
and their numbers and close proximity to Massa- 
soit's own tribe, together with the personality of 
their sachem, furnishes a reason for singHng them 
out for particular mention at this time. Corbitant 
was a man of considerable importance, as indeed 
any man who could command three hundred war- 
riors would be in the Wampanoag nation, weakened 
as it was by the raid of the Tarratines and the 
plague. He was not always in sympathy with some 
of Massasoit's moves, and his known hostility and 
independent scheming natmraUy lead us to inquire 
whether the strength of the Wampanoags has not 
been greatly underestimated by some, the reason- 
able inference being that Corbitant might quite 
naturally be expected to lead an open revolt if there 
had been any chance of success, the natives not 
being held in check by any doctrine of the divine 
rights of kings, and not looking upon the persons 
of their Great Chiefs as being endowed with any 
particular sanctity. Corbitant, while maintaining 
friendly relations with the whites apparently did it 
more as the part of pohtical wisdom than through a 
desire to encourage and aid them. He was un- 
doubtedly the sachem who was with Massasoit in 
his sickness in 1623, the day before Winslow arrived 
at Sowams, and sought to arouse Massasoit's hos- 
tility to the English saying as Winslow writes, "if 
we had been as good friends indeed as we were now 


in show, we would have visited him in this his 
sickness, using many arguments to withdraw his 
affections, and to persuade him to give way to some 
things against us, which were motioned to him not 
long before." Winslow does not mention the name 
of this sachem, but enough is known of Corbitant 
to lead to the belief that it was he. On the occa- 
sion of this visit to Massasoit, Winslow stopped at 
"Mattapuyst" with Corbitant on his way to So- 
wams; and after his mission was accomphshed, and 
Massasoit sufficiently recovered so that his friends 
returned to their homes, he went to Corbitant's 
lodge with him and spent the night there. He 
speaks of the Chief as a "notable politician, yet full 
of merry jests and squibs, and never better pleased 
than when the like are returned upon him." Cor- 
bitant was one of the eight sachems who ac- 
knowledged themselves subjects of King James 
in September 1621, his name being written Caun- 
bitant on that document. 

Wamsutta, or Mooanam, Massasoit's oldest son, 
married Weetamo, supposed to be the daughter of 
Corbitant; and, undoubtedly in right of his wife, 
seems to have exercised some authority over the 
Pocassets after Corbitant's death. In 1659 he 
joined with other Indians in a grant of a tract of 
land covering all of what is now Freetown and 
more than half of Fall River to twenty-six pur- 
chasers who were free men and from whom the 
purchase is known in history as the Freemen's pm:- 
chase. Weetamo is frequently referred to as the 
Squaw Sachem of the Pocassets, and we will have 


occasion to refer to her again, as well as to the part 
played by the Pocassets in King PhiUp's war. 

The Wampanoags and the Narragansetts appear 
to have made more progress towards civilization 
than most of the other Indian tribes, except possibly 
the Iroquois League of Northern New York. Mas- 
sasoit dwelt in a lodge at Sowams of a much more 
substantial character than the ordinary tepees, and 
Corbitant imdoubtedly had a similar residence at 
Mettapoisett. There is still shown in the town of 
Warren the Pokanoket's grist mill , consisting of a 
natural flat table rock into which grooves have been 
cut or worn by use, where the women of the tribe 
groimd their corn by rolling round stones over it, 
these movable stones being operated by rolling them 
hke a wheel about a shaft thrust through a hole 
drilled in the center. From the meal thus pro^ 
duced they made the Rhode Island Johnny cakes, 
the counterparts of which still tickle the palates of 
the descendents of the women who learned the art 
of making them from the Indian women of almost 
three centuries ago. The Rhode Island clambake, 
the mere mention of which is still sufficient to call 
together a multitude wherever that famous repast 
is known, had its origin with one or the other of 
these tribes and was known to both. The Indian 
method of preparing it is still recognized as the one 
method that gives it the peculiar flavor that cannot 
be secured in any other way; that method consist- 
ing of heating rocks by building fires upon them, 
and then removing the embers and placing clams, 
fish and green corn upon the rocks and covering 


them with seaweed to hold the heat until the whole 
is thoroughly cooked. Agriculture they had de- 
veloped to a greater extent than most tribes, for 
while their cultivation of the soil was crude, they 
adopted artificial fertihzation, which they taught to 
the whites as we shall hereafter see; and they raised 
corn and beans in abundance from which they made 
succotash, a dish originating with them; and they 
had made some progress in the potter's art. The 
Pokanokets constructed on the banks of the Kicke- 
muit River a bath to which they resorted for the 
cure of the ills that assailed them, and there is reason 
for believing that both they and the Narragansetts 
had others of a like character in other places. This 
bath consisted of a structure bmlt of non-com- 
bustible materials or cut in the clay banks, and was 
heated in the same manner as that employed in 
preparing the clambake for cooking as already out- 
Kned. In this building they then sat and smoked 
while the perspiration rolled down their dusky 
bodies, concluding with a plunge in the river. 

Such was the federation that occupied the land 
surrounding the place at which that Uttle band of 
devoted pilgrims first set foot on the New World. 
They had fled from England to Holland that they 
might escape the rigorous discipline of the estab- 
lished church, and exercise their own free will in the 
matter of religious worship; but Holland was not 
their destination; it was simply the place of a tem- 
porary sojourn, until the hand of destiny led them 
across the dark waters in search of a broader field 
of endeavor. We are sometimes impressed with a 


belief that they were the instruments of fate sent 
hither to establish in the newly discovered western 
hemisphere a new order, out of which, eventually, 
there was destined to arise a greater freedom,, a 
broader humanity, than the world had before known. 
It is no wonder that they, in their zeal, speak of 
their escapes from the extraordinary perils that be- 
set them both on the water in their frail bark, and 
subsequently on the land, as due to the special dis- 
pensation of Divine Providence. Their safe pass- 
age of the stormy sea in late autiunn; their landing 
at a place the entire population of which had been 
wiped out, thus reducing to a minimum the prob- 
abihty of molestation by natives who had no reason 
to love the English, no reason to look upon them in 
any light but that of marauders who might without 
provocation and without warning attack them with 
their terrible weapons of fire and thunder, or carry 
them away into slavery as had been done before; 
and the kindly greeting they received after their 
fiirst unpleasant encoimter with the natives, all con- 
spire to impel us of this more skeptical age to in- 
dulge them in attributing this first successful issue 
of their venture to the intervention of the hand that 
guided the tribes of Israel through their many trib- 
ulations, imtU, pvuified by the fire of adversity, 
they arose triumphant and bore the ark of the 
covenant into the Promised Land. If there was one 
thing more than another, or more than all others, 
that showed the protecting hand of Providence, it 
was the disposition of the Great Sachem of the 
Wampanoags and his people to extend to the 


strangers the right hand of friendship, and to dwell 
side by side with them in amity for half a centmy; 
for until the outbreak of King Philip's war, there 
was no serious trouble between the whites and the 
Wampanoags. Minor outbreaks and personal acts 
of violence there were, but, in general, they lived 
side by side in peace and security, and while there 
were discords, suspicions and wars with others, the 
Wampanoags, under the guiding hand of their 
Great Sachem Massasoit, remained faithful to their 
treaty obhgations. 

BoKN 1580 — Died 1661 

IT is as a man of peace that we know Massasoit, 
Great Sachem of the Wampanoags. There is 
nothing in his career as far as it is revealed by the 
white man's history, to appeal to the fiery ardor and 
enthusiasm of youth hke the exploits of his son 
Pometacom or Metacomet, the King Philip of his- 
tory, or Red Jacket, Joseph Brant, Pontiac, Tecum- 
seh or scores of others whose deeds of valor have 
fired the imagination and thrilled the hearts of our 
young men for generations; but to the man in 
middle life, whose blood has been cooled to some 
extent by the snows of many winters, to the student 
of human character, there is something about the 
calm and dignified demeanor of that great chief that 
brings a feeling of regret that the colonists should 
have looked upon the continued existence of his race 
as an insmmoimtable barrier to the fruition of their 
ambitious designs, and should have considered it 
necessary to exterminate a race which by its own 
unaided efforts, through ages of slow development 
with no contact with the enlightenment of the old 
world attained through eons of labored progress, 
with no guiding hand to assist it in its groping 



towards the light, had made sufficient advancement 
along the paths of civihzation to produce such a 

I am aware that the vast majority of the super- 
ficial readers of early American history have con- 
cluded that the Indian tribes of Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island and Connecticut were wiped out in a 
cruel and unprovoked war begvm by King Philip in 
open violation of the treaty his father had made 
with Governor Carver of the Plymouth Colony; 
but the man who holds this view cannot have 
looked into the violations of that treaty by the 
whites, and takes no account of the long Ust of 
aggressions against the natives in violation of the 
spirit of the treaty if not of its letter. The great 
cause of that bloody war was the tendency on the 
part of the colonists to treat the Indians as a sub- 
ject race to whom they owed no duty, who were in 
their way, and whom they were at Uberty to annoy 
constantly in every conceivable manner. If they 
had set out with a determination to arouse the na- 
tives to declare war, in order that they might use 
the hostihties thus begun as an excuse for exter- 
minating them, they could not have succeeded more 
admirably. When we consider the wonderful sa- 
gacity, the political wisdom of Massasoit's move in 
seeking to establish friendly relations with the 
invaders of his soil and to pave the way for the 
two races to live side by side in peace and harmony, 
instead of sounding the alarm and calling his trusty 
warriors about him to expel the foreign foe, we can- 
not fail to be impressed with his foresight, based, as 


it was, upon his knowledge of men in a wild and 
natural state, and unacquainted with the arts and 
wiles of civilization. That his judgment was in 
error, and his confidence misplaced was no fault of 
his, but the misfortune of his people. Had the 
colonists shown half the regard for the spirit of the 
treaty they made with him, and for the obhgations 
they thereby assumed towards him and his, that he 
manifested during the forty years of his life after its 
signing, what a different story would the annals of 
New England tell today. It is almost enough to 
bring the blush of shame to the white man's cheek 
to recount the story of colonial perfidy towards the 
friendly Wampanoags and Narragansetts, once the 
story is stripped of the cant with which it has been 
decked out and which we have been too accustomed 
to regard as religious zeal. 

Zealots the Pilgrims were, religious fanatics, rival- 
ing the janizaries of the Moslem world, seeking a 
place where they might enjoy religious freedom and 
celebrating their 'success by denying to others the 
freedom they sought to establish for themselves. 
They allowed no fine scruples of decency and honor 
to stand in the way of spurring on to their death a 
race that seemed to them to be an impediment to 
their material progress. They converted what they 
could by preaching the word, and stopped at no 
savage cruelty to wipe out what they could not 
convert. Their most eminent divines exulted over 
the defeat of the men who had been their friends, 
but whom they had betrayed so often that their 
friendship had been turned to hostility. The chil- 


dren of the forest, following the strongest instinct in 
the hiunan breast, and fighting for their own preser- 
vation and the protection of home and fireside, were 
ruthlessly slaughtered by the men between whom 
and annihilation they had interposed their naked 
breasts, and whose priests boasted of the number of 
souls they "sent to hell" in some battle brought on 
by their treatment of the men to whom they had 
aUied themselves by the most solemn ties. Cant 
and hypocrisy have ever gone hand in hand with 
excessive religious zeal, and the preachers of New 
England furnished, not an exception to the rule, but 
its most striking example. They preached the word 
of God and pretended to be followers of the humble 
Nazarene; but practiced the wiles of the devil; and 
rivaled him in their satanic exultation over the fate 
of the foes they made by their diabohcal practices. 
There was bound to be a conflict between Euro- 
pean and Indian methods of living. The two could 
not co-exist on the same soil. The two races cotild 
not long live side by side except by one of them 
conforming to the mode of fife of the other. It 
was inevitable that the country must be all savage 
or all civiUzed; but there was no danger to Euro- 
pean ideals and civilization in trying the experiment 
of leavening the whole lump. The Indians of east- 
em Massachusetts and Rhode Island had shown 
sufficient inteUigence and sufficient interest in Eng- 
lish customs and manners of living to warrant a 
hope for a complete reclamation of the race. True 
civilization is not of such a quahty or character 
that it is in danger of being lost by extending it to 


cover a broader field than has been its wont. It is 
a condition that is strengthened and invigorated by 
propagation and extension. It was no more in dan- 
ger of extinction in the wilds of New England by 
bringing the natives within its enlightening influ- 
ence, than is the light of the sun of being extin- 
guished by turning it into hitherto unexplored 
regions of darkness. 

The Pilgrims brought with them the seed from 
which, by careful culture, has developed our civil 
and reUgious liberty. They planted and nourished 
it here, even though they were themselves as in- 
tolerant of others as were those from whom they 
fled, of them. It is characteristic of freedom that 
it grows and flourishes under adversity. The 
greater the opposition, the stronger the growth, 
even though temporarily checked by the heavy 
hand of oppression; and it is unfortvmate that the 
foxmders of our liberties should have considered it 
necessary to water the seed they planted with the 
blood of nature's freemen. 

The liberty that cannot flourish without enslav- 
ing another is not worth preserving, and the Ameri- 
can people through long years of toil and suffering 
learned this great truth; and, out of the Umited 
freedom estabhshed by the colonies, evolved the 
only true freedom, to move unfettered and un- 
trammelled as far as can be done without interfer- 
ence with the equal liberty of another. If the early 
settlers on these shores had recognized this eternal 
truth, instead of leaving it to their posterity to 
evolve as the true foundation of right and justice. 


the story of their injustice would never have been 
told. But all human progress is slow; and as man 
cannot, by a single bound, reach the mountain top, 
so a race cannot at once spring from darkness into 
perfect light. 

I would not detract from the stern virtues of the 
men who laid the foundations of our free institu- 
tions, the planters who labored early and late that 
we might reap for generations in greater measure 
than was vouchsafed to them; but, remembering 
that it is easier to sail a charted sea than to thread 
one's way among the rocks and shoals of an un- 
known coast, we may still be permitted a measiu'e 
of criticism of the methods they adopted for the ac- 
complishment of their purpose. Looking back upon 
the scenes of the long ago, one knows not which 
most to admire, the pertinacity with which the 
Christian English clung to the establishment of their 
ideals, which, illuminated by the ever increasing 
light of intellectual freedom, have become cm- 
ideals; or that of the pagan Indian, who, finding 
that his liberty was being gradually swallowed up 
in that which he had helped the English to estab- 
lish upon his lands, turned at bay and attempted to 
break the fetters which the English liberty was 
forging for him and his. 

The results of the coming of the Pilgrim fathers 
have been told in song and story; they have been 
heralded wherever the voice of men is heard; they 
have been taught to lisping children at their 
mothers' knee, and have been the theme of poets 
and the realization of the dream of philosophers. 


I would not gainsay them if I could; I would not 
turn back the wheels of human progress; I would 
not dim the lustre of one ray from the torch of 
hberty our fathers lighted, and which has burned 
brighter with each succeeding generation imtil its 
rays have penetrated the uttermost parts of the 
earth; but without detracting from the accom- 
plishments of the mighty men of the past, I would 
do honor to the vaHant race which, seeing its liber- 
ties endangered by the encroachments of the men 
whom it had welcomed, sprang to arms for the 
defence of their freedom, with a zeal that has won 
our commendation wherever displayed by civilized 
peoples from Marathon to the Argonne. I would 
pause in the contemplation of the glories of the 
past, long enough to deposit a wreath of earth's 
fairest blossoms upon the places where lie buried the 
hopes and aspirations of the noblest race of savages 
the world has ever seen. I would turn aside to look 
upon Sachem's Plaiu and Moimt Hope with a feel- 
ing of regret that the men who fell there could not 
have devoted their God given energy to the accom- 
plishment of their dreams of living with their white 
brethren in peace and harmony. A race that could 
produce a Massasoit is not all bad, and it is a mis- 
fortune to the world that the good that was in it 
could not have developed side by side with the 
good that our fathers had inherited from the 
memories of a thousand years of upward strug- 
gUng towards the light. 

The hand of Destiny that planted the seeds of 
Freedom for you and me, under the erring guidance 


of those who controlled it for their own benefit, 
sowed the seeds of death and extermination for the 
simple natives, who seemed to the blind, unreason- 
ing, or cold, calculating men of darker days to 
block the wheels of their progress. With no other 
right than that of might, they swept away the 
last vestige of a once proud and powerful people, 
preeminent among whom, as indeed preeminent 
among all men of all races and of all time, stands 
the man to whose memory these Hnes are dedicated, 
Massasoit the Great Sachem of the Wampanoags. 
We have abeady considered the probable nimierical 
strength of the Pokanokets and, in a general way, 
that of the federated tribes, calling particular at- 
tention to the Pocassets and Nausets about whom 
something fairly definite is known; and it is not 
my purpose to make further comment upon that 
subject except as it may be necessary to emphasize' 
or illustrate some other matter that seems to be of 
sufficient importance to warrant trespassing upon 
the reader's patience by calling attention again and 
again to the situation as it was in the early days of 
the colonial life of New England, and particularly 
of the Plymouth Colony. And, in this connection, 
no sketch of Massasoit would be quite complete 
without a brief reference to the fact that in his 
earlier days, he had been a great war chief himself, 
or at least the head of a federation capable of hold- 
ing its own against the tribes that were undoubtedly 
attempting from time to time to make inroads upon 
its himting grounds; for we have it from Captain 
Benjamin Chiu-ch, who was General Winslow's chief 


of staff in King Philip's war, that Annawon, Phihp's 
great captain, after his capture, boasted of his 
former prowess and deeds of valor when serving 
under Philip's father. I use the expression, a great 
war chief himself or the head of a powerful federa- 
tion, advisedly, for it seems to be clearly estab- 
lished that the Great Sachem, or Chief of Chiefs, 
of the Indian federations, while the head of the civil 
government, was not always the personal leader of 
his warriors in battle, that duty sometimes devolv- 
ing upon some great captain who had distinguished 
himself by his valor, CTmning and capacity for in- 
spiring and handling large bodies of warriors. To 
such a captain was frequently entrusted the con- 
duct or personal direction of the wars after a plan of 
campaign had been agreed upon in a council, in- 
cluding all the chiefs and sagamores together with 
the select body or class called "paniese" who were 
the chief men of valor. This seems particularly to 
have been the practice among the Five Nations of 
the Iroquois League, and was probably the occa- 
sional practice with the other federations, although 
a careful perusal of such records as are available 
leads to the conclusion that the Great Sachem him- 
self in most instances personally conducted his cam- 
paigns. We do not have to look far for a reason for 
this. From our knowledge of Indian character, we 
may well infer that the Great Chiefs would be ex- 
tremely reluctant to relinquish the control of their 
warriors to a sub-chief or captain through fear of 
loss of their own prestige and the acquisition of too 
great an ascendency on the part of their captains. 


prowess on the warpath being the one qualification 
that would appeal most strongly to the Indian tem- 
perament and endear a chief to his people, thus 
strengthening his hold upon them. Consequently 
we may safely conclude that before he had been 
weakened by the loss of his people through the 
ravages of the pestilence of 1616-1617, and the 
raids of the Tarratines upon his outlying tribes, 
Massasoit was himself a noted warrior. Through 
the agencies enumerated his war strength had been 
reduced from three thousand or five thousand war- 
riors, there being authority for both figures, to prob- 
ably one thousand or twelve hundred, not counting 
the Nipmucks, who were most Ukely governed as 
conquered tribes, and of doubtful value in war. 
That they were not of the closely alhed or related 
tribes, but were looked upon as inferiors, is fairly 
apparent from Massasoit's remark to Roger Wil- 
liams, as quoted by him in his letter to Governor 
Winthrop at Boston, which will appear later. I 
cannot refrain from expressing the belief that my 
estimate as given above of one thousand or more is 
fair; and in this connection, I will take the hberty 
of digressing again from the subject of this chapter 
to make another of those Uttle side trips into terri- 
tory that ought, perhaps, to have been explored 
when we were inquiring into the numerical strength 
of the Wampanoags, but an examination of which is 
timely in connection with what I have just said, 
and in the consideration of Massasoit's readiness to 
treat with the colonists and the importance to them 
of that friendly disposition. 


At the time of Canonicus* challenge to the settlers 
in November, 1621, Bradford, for some reason, 
came to the conclusion that it was his desire to 
"lord it over the weaker Pokanokets and Massa- 
chusetts"; and, from what we know of that wily 
and ambitious chief, we may well believe that Brad- 
ford's suspicion, even if it was nothing more than 
that, was well founded. The Narragansetts had 
escaped the ravages of the pestilence, and Canonicus, 
taking advantage of his neighbor's weakness, had be- 
gun an offensive warfare against Massasoit, and had 
wrested from him the Island of Aquidnick. This 
probably could be accomplished only by force; but 
the encounter is likely to have been limited to the 
occupants of the island, with possibly such assist- 
ance as could be hmried to them from tribes in 
close proximity. The wars among the natives were 
imdoubtedly of short diuration, a single combat 
sometimes deciding the issue, and it might well 
happen that Canonicus could muster his warriors in 
sufficient force to conquer the island before any 
assistance could reach its people, and to hold it 
against any attempts of the weakened Wampanoags 
to retake it. According to the best authorities, 
from three to fom* thousand warriors stood ready 
to take up the War Cry of Canonicus at that time 
and to pass it along from village to village, like 
Rhoderick Dhu's summons to Clan Alpine. If he 
was as ambitious to extend his domain and power 
as some writers think, and as his attack upon the 
island seems to indicate, it is inconceivable that he 
should have refrained from further conquest if the 


Wampanoags, Massachusetts and Pawtuckets, or 
Pennacooks, were as weak as some writers seem to 
think, Drake placing the strength of the Paw- 
tuckets at that time at two hundred and fifty souls, 
not warriors but all combined, and another writer 
saying that the Massachusetts were the weakest of 
all the three federations. 

It is true that the Pequots at some earher date 
had subjugated the Mohicans, Niantics and other 
minor tribes in Connecticut and had settled down 
upon the land contiguous to that of the Narragan- 
setts on the west; and that the bitterest hostility 
existed between these two tribes or federations; but 
they seem to have been at peace at this time; and 
from our reading of the records of dissensions be- 
tween the Pequots and the conquered tribes which 
they evidently were trying to join to themselves, we 
may well beUeve that they were then bending all 
their energy to the task of consolidating the con- 
quered territory, a task at which they were never 
entirely successful. However much the Narra- 
gansetts may have feared attempts at further con- 
quests on the part of the Pequots, there is no 
evidence of any Pequot aggressions against them at 
that time; and it is more than Ukely that the hos- 
tility of later days was first manifested by the Nar- 
ragansetts themselves, being aroused in part at least 
by the raid of the Pequots upon the hunting grounds 
of the Niantics and the Mohicans, the former of 
whom were more closely related to the Narragan- 
setts than either of them were to the Pequots; and 


the Mohicans not being held in such dread as were 
their conquerors. 

So the fear of Pequot invasion naay be ehminated 
as a possible deterrent to further Narragansett 
aggression against the Wampanoags, and we are 
compelled to look for another reason for Canonicus' 
failure to follow up his seiziu-e of Aquidnick. There 
seems but one logical conclusion, and that is that 
the Wampanoag strength on the mainland, where 
the destruction of a few villages would result only in 
driving their occupants back upon the inland tribes 
by which they would be constantly augmented was 
sufficient to hold Canonicus in check. 

These reflections lead us directly to a considera- 
tion of Massasoit's purpose in approaching the Eng- 
lish with the ohve branch of peace. Any suggestion 
that he did it from piu-ely disinterested motives 
would be a reflection upon his sagacity. That he 
was running counter to the wishes of his most 
powerful sub-sachem, Corbitant of Pocasset, is 
clearly established, and it is inconceivable that he 
voluntarily trailed to Plymouth for the pm^pose of 
giving up something for nothing. On the other 
hand, he knew enough about the English not to 
expect something for nothing from them. The ter- 
ritory of his own tribes had been invaded by Har- 
low and Htmt, who had carried away many of his 
people, some to be sold into slavery, and others to 
be held in virtual slavery to those who desired to 
utihze them in further trade among the tribes. 
Squanto had returned, and, of course, had related 
his experiences; and Massasoit must have known 


of similar outrages perpetrated upon other tribes 
along the New England coast. Virginia Baker in 
her excellent little book, "Massasoit's Town of So- 
wams in Pokanoket," speaks of him as wise states- 
man and shrewd poUtician; and it is in this character 
that we are impelled, by a consideration of his acts, 
to look upon him. Squanto's account of what he 
had seen in England where he had spent much 
time and had been kindly treated must have seemed 
to his simple listeners Uke tales from the "Arabian 
Nights." Massasoit had heard his story and had 
been impressed by it; and, when he learned that 
voyagers from that wonderful land had settled upon 
his territory, he went to them, not to surrender any 
portion of his sovereignty, but as a king to treat 
with the representatives of a king. There was no 
thought of submission or subjection. He came to 
ascertain the purpose of their visit and their inten- 
tions, and when he learned that they contemplated 
a permanent settlement, he sat down with them to 
discuss terms on which they might live side by side 
in perfect harmony. 

The memorable treaty was the outcome of this 
conference, and imder it he accomphshed his pur- 
pose as long as the men who were parties to it hved 
and kept a controlling hand on the affairs of the 
colony. It was not encroachments by Carver, 
Bradford, Winslow and their associates, who knew 
him in the early days, that caused the breach and 
httle by little widened it until nothing short of the 
resort to arms could settle the differences between 
the two races, but the unjust suspicions, followed 


by the arbitrary conduct and petty acts of annoy- 
ance of a later generation. The ambitious designs 
of the colonists, when they had attained sufficient 
strength to walk alone, led them to attempt to 
govern the Indians as subjects, to order them about 
at will, to interfere in their most intimate tribal 
affairs, to take jurisdiction of matters that ought to 
have been left to tribal coimcils, instead of treating 
them as an independent and politically equal people. 
It was this conduct on the part of the whites that 
broke the chain of friendship and plunged the colo- 
nists into war with the sons of the men who had 
befriended them at a time when that friendship was 
a matter of life or death to them; a war that cost 
the colonists thousands of lives that might have 
been saved by a Uttle tolerance and a sense of jus- 
tice, and that resulted in the extermination of a 
once proud and powerful people. 

This fatal ending of a friendship so auspiciously 
begun cannot justly be charged to Massasoit, nor 
entirely to his sons and successors. The history of 
the times has been written by the colonists. The 
Indian has left no chronicle of the events that 
finally impelled him to dig up the tomahawk. It 
is by the white man's records that both must be 
judged; and those records convict the colonists of a 
series of aggressions of sufficient seriousness to arouse 
the ire and stir the blood of any people who had.been 
accustomed, to range the forests and fish the streams 
in untrammeled freedom until the white man cun- 
ningly^ forged the fetters for their free born feet. 

Massasoit entered into the treaty in entire good 


faith, and with a fixed determination to observe it 
in spirit and in letter, as is conclusively shown by 
the several acts to which I shall call particular at- 
tention, by his overlooking its breach by the Eng- 
Ush in refusing to surrender Squanto, and by the 
fact that the treaty was never broken by him or his 
people during the forty years of his hfe after its 
signing, nor during the short reign of his eldest son 
and successor, Wamsutta, nor indeed during the 
first thirteen years of the rule of his second son 
Pometacom; although there were nmabhngs of the 
approaching tempest from 1671. Indeed, the colo- 
nists tried to find evidence of bad faith on the part 
of Wamsutta ten years before, but the most they 
did was to estabhsh their own bad faith in spite of 
their efforts to cover it with the cloud of suspicion 
against him. A further consideration of the affair 
with that great chief will appear when we come to 
a survey of his short term in his chieftaincy; so 
I shall dismiss it for the present with the reflection 
that some acts on the part of the whites during 
the period which we are considering, as recorded by 
themselves, are enough to raise the question whether 
they were not guilty of a deUberate attempt to so 
arouse and exasperate the natives, as to lead them 
to acts of open hostihty to be seized upon as an 
excuse for exterminating the race. I am aware that 
this is a serious indictment, but it is supported by 
a series of aggressions that seem inexplicable on 
any other theory than that they were dehberately 
planned, or were perpetrated with reckless disregard 
for the rights of the Indians. 


Massasoit, as I have said, entered into the pact 
with Governor Carver in good faith. He was ac- 
customed to dealing with men whose only bond was 
their word, with the simple natives, "silly savages," 
as Captain Smith caUs them, unaccustomed to the 
arts of civilization and the trick of trying to find 
excuses for breaking their pledges, instead of studi- 
ously endeavoring to observe them, both in letter 
and in spirit; and he then had no reason for sup- 
posing that the English were less sincere, or that 
they entered into the relations defined in the pact 
with the intent to observe it only in so far as it 
served their purpose, or as long as it was useful to 
them. This was one of the lessons in the higher 
European civilization that they learned in the bitter 
school of experience; and the men who taught them 
this code of morals had no right to complain when 
the results of their teaching reacted upon them- 
selves. I am reluctant to believe that Carver then 
looked upon his treaty in that light; but we find 
his immediate successor, Bradford, recording the 
fact that he, as early as 1622 in the episode arising 
out of the perfectly apparent perfidy of Squanto, 
was more intent upon finding an excuse for evading 
the treaty than upon conforming to its provisions. 

So when Samoset on March 16, 1621, appeared in 
the street of Plymouth, and, after being entertained, 
departed on the next day sajdng he would bring 
Massasoit, a great Sachem who had sixty warriors 
imder him; and apparently sent ninners who had 
been lurking in the neighborhood, to convey to 
Massasoit the tidings that the Enghsh had en- 


camped upon the hunting grounds of one of his 
tribes, now extinct, and had erected habitations 
there of a more permanent character than had ever 
been attempted before, the Great Sachem himself, 
proud ruler of more than thirty villages, with his 
sixty panieses, took up the trail of forty miles to 
visit the intruders, not for the purpose of expelling 
them by force, not to trade with them as had been 
done before along the coast, but to inquire the piu:- 
pose of this unbidden camping upon the groimds of 
which he was still the rightful owner, even though 
the tribe, his tribe, that had occupied them had 
been wiped out. Possibly he had in mind the very 
thing that happened, the formation of a league with 
the white men, who fought with "fire and thunder," 
to assist him in case of further encroachments by his 
ambitious neighbor, Canonicus; and for which he 
was willing to give a full equivalent, the right to 
occupy the land, the assistance of his people in 
teaching the strangers how to compel the forest, 
stream and soil to 3deld up a subsistence, and to aid 
them in case of hostile attacks upon them by tribes 
over which he had no control, or which were likely 
to break away from such restraint as he had over 

Viewed in the light of what we know, it now 
seems that the colonists were getting the best end 
of the bargain as matters then stood, and could 
well afford to be Uberal in the construction of the 
duties and obligations assumed by them. True, as 
they increased in numbers and strength, the scale 
might have tipped the other way even if the treaty 


had been rigidly adhered to by the settlers, but this 
affords no excuse for its breach by them. As 
matters stood on that bleak day in March, 1621, 
with their ranks depleted by death, that had deso- 
lated nearly, if not quite, every hearth, deaths in 
such numbers that they dared not raise a mound 
to mark the spots where they had consigned their 
departed to earth for fear that their weakness 
might be discovered, they received much more than 
they gave. To them this friendly visit of Massa- 
soit and his readiness to sit with them in council, 
to smoke with them the pipe of peace, to form 
with them a defensive alliance, must have seemed 
like a visitation of guardian angels from an unseen 

Words without deeds, however, are of little value, 
promises are easily made, and, too often, as easily 
broken. The shores of time are thickly strewn with 
the wreckage of treaties shattered by the perfidy of 
men who look not to their pUghted word once it 
seems to their advantage to disregard their solemn 
pledges. This reflection brings us to a consideration 
of the benefits accruing to the colonists from the 
faithfulness of the natives to the pact entered into 
between Governor Carver and their Great Sachem. 

Things moved rapidly during the first few years 
after the landing of the Pilgrims, and there must 
have been times when they were in serious doubt 
whether their venture was destined to success or 
failure. Without attempting to recite the entire 
history of that period, I wiU call attention to a few 
of the important events for the successful cukni- 


nation of which the colonists were indebted to the 
Great Sachem who had pledged his friendship to 
them. I do this for the purpose of properly ap- 
praising the value of that friendship. 

Two men occupy a unique position in the early 
life of the colonists. I shall have more to say about 
them in a later chapter, but it is not inopportune to 
here call attention briefly to the fact ■ that they 
played an important part in assisting the settlers to 
establish themselves, and to enter into trade rela- 
tions with the tribes; of these Squanto, it will be 
remembered was either the only survivor or one of 
the very few survivors of the Patuxets who had occu- 
pied the territory around Plymouth as far back as 
the hunting grounds of the Nemaskets, whose prin- 
cipal village was on the site now occupied by 
Middleboro; and consequently he was a subject of 
Massasoit. A brief account of his invaluable serv- 
ices will appear elsewhere, and my only purpose 
now is to suggest that without the friendship of 
his Great Sachem he might not have been in posi- 
tion to give such assistance to the colonists as to 
lead Corbitant, in his bitterness, to speak of him 
as the tongue of the English. 

Hobamock, the other of these two, was one of 
the panieses of Massasoit, attached to his chief- 
taincy as counsellor and personal follower on the 
warpath. He came to the English shortly after 
the end of July, 1621, and proved to be of great help 
to them in ejctending their trade and in establishing 
friendly relations with the surrounding tribes. In 
this he was undoubtedly aided by his position as a 


counsellor to the Great Sachem, his influence on 
this account extending even beyond the hunting 
grounds of the Wampanoags. Besides it was he who 
broke away and gave the alarm that resulted in the 
rescue of Squanto when threatened by Corbitant. It 
is true that Squanto was only threatened and then 
let go, but what might have been his fate had not 
Corbitant known that Hobamock was likely to 
bring a hornet's nest about his ears, we can only 
conjecture. And so the colonists owed the con- 
tinued services of Squanto to Hobamock. 

Three months after Massasoit's first visit to Ply- 
mouth, as their first spring in the new world was 
ripening into summer. Governor Bradford, who had 
been elected to succeed Carver, was desirous of se- 
curing first hand information concerning the Great 
Sachem, how important a personage he was, and 
what were his surroundings, and so on July 2, 1621, 
Edward Winslow, who had been one of the hostages 
for Massasoit's safety when he entered Plymouth to 
confer with Governor Carver, set out accompanied 
by Stephen Hopkins and with Squanto as guide, to 
secure the desired information, to strengthen the 
ties of friendship, and to prociure corn for planting. 
They arrived on July 4, and foimd Massasoit absent, 
but he soon returned and greeted them kindly. 
They presented him a red horseman's coat, which 
he donned with great pride, and a copper chain 
which he was to send by any messengers whom he 
might wish to dispatch to Pljraiouth, as evidence 
that they came from him. On this occasion they 
foimd him and his people reduced to such straits 


for food that he was unable to offer them anything 
to eat until the next day, when he set before his 
guests two large boiled fish, which served as a re- 
past for them and about forty of the natives. They 
spent two nights in his lodge, but in such discom- 
fort, as Winslow informs us in great detail, that 
they arose more exhausted than when they retired. 
On the third day they departed to return to Ply- 
mouth, although urged to make their visit longer 
by Massasoit, who expressed regret that he had not 
been able better to entertain them. Unfortunately 
Winslow does not inform us what entertainment 
they had after the first repast. From this and later 
visits there sprung up a strong personal friendship 
between Winslow and the Great Sachem which con- 
tinued until the death of the former in 1655. 

Hardly had this mission been successfully accom- 
pUshed when there arose a great hue and cry for 
one John Billington who was lost. He had gone 
into the woods, and, unable to find his way out, 
wandered up and down for five days, finally reach- 
ing Manomet, twenty miles down the bay. The 
Manomets carried him further down the cape to 
the Nausets. The governor inquired of the Indians 
about him, and finally Massasoit sent word where 
he was and a shallop was sent for him. The Nausets 
soon after came, one hundred warriors, and "made 
peace" with the colonists. It is related that of the 
one hundred who came only sixty entered the vil- 
lage, the others holding themselves aloof. It was 
at about this time that Hobamock came to Uve 
at Plymouth. Whether he was the messenger who 


brought the tidings of BiUington's whereabouts and 
remained, or not, does not appear; but he was there 
in August, for it was then that the episode between 
him and Squanto and Corbitant, which we will 
have occasion to consider later, came timibling so 
close on the heels of that with the Manomets and 
Nausets that the settlers must have been nearly 
distracted by the antics of their neighbors. When 
Captain Standish with his formidable army of four- 
teen men smrounded the house in which Corbitant 
was supposed to be holding Squanto prisoner, if 
indeed he had not already dispatched him, three 
men were "sore wounded" in getting out, and 
were brought to Plymouth and healed; whereupon 
the colonists "received the gratulations of many 
sachems. Yea, those of the Island of Capawack 
sent to make friendship, and this Corbitant himself 
used the mediation of Massasoit to make his peace 
but was shie to come near them a long while after," 
as the story is told by Bradford. 

Following this series of events, each of which 
was fraught with the possibility of disaster to the 
settlers, came the red letter day of the whole year. 
On September 13, nine chiefs came to Plymouth to 
arrange a modus vivendi as modem diplomats would 
say; and before they got away every one of them 
signed an acknowledgment of allegiance to King 
James. Probably not one of them knew what he 
had done or dreamed that he had entered the town 
a prince, a ruler over his people, and left it a slave, 
for that is what the colonists tried to make of 
them; and their posterity have raised a great hue 


and cry about the faithless Indians not submitting 
to be governed by the colonists, as loyal subjects of 
the same king. Unless the rulers and holy men of 
God at Plymouth loaded them with "strong water" 
until they were entirely bereft of their senses, they 
undoubtedly thought that they were treating on 
equal terms with the settlers, signing a treaty of 
alliance, and not a craven surrender of their sover- 
eignty. These nine chiefs were: 

Ohquamehtjd, said by Drake to be a Wampa- 
noag, and undoubtedly true in the broad sense in 
which we use the term, for the same name, though 
spelled Oquomehod, appears on a deed from the 
Nausets to the people of New Pljonouth in 1666. 

Cawnacome, whom Drake identifies as Cone- 
camon, Sachem of Manomet; and I desire to digress 
at this point to call attention to the fact that this 
latter spelling is identical with that of the name of 
Epenow's companion in captivity when he was 
carried away by Harlow in 1611, and undoubtedly 
identifies the former victim of English cupidity 
with the later sachem of his tribe. 

Obbitinua, said by Drake to be Obbatinewat, 
sachem of the Massachusetts, and subject to Mas- 
sasoit. Dexter disagrees with Drake, on the theory 
that the colonists would not have asked him to sub- 
mit himself by reason of his relations with Massa- 
soit. This reasoning seems illogical to me, because 
there is strong ground for believing that the Massa- 
chusetts were not subjects, but aUies of Massasoit, 
in fact the weight of authority strongly points to 
this conclusion; besides, even if he were a subject 


of Massasoit, Dexter's reasoning seems weak in 
view of the fact that nearly all the sachems who 
submitted themselves at that time were clearly .sub- 
jects of Massasoit. ^~ ^.—■■'' ' ' 

Nattawahuntp probably Natawanute or Atta- 
wanhut of Connecticut, although Drake inclines to 
the behef that this is Nashacowan, a Nipmuck 
chief who was a subject of Massasoit. My reason 
for believing it to be the former is that Attawanhut, 
a Connecticut River sachem, had been dispossessed 
of his territory along the Fresh (Connecticut) 
River by Wapyquent, or Tattoepan as he is most 
frequently called, and Winslow, who had large 
property holdings in Connecticut and spent a con- 
siderable part of his time there, restored him to his 
former possessions, quite Hkely as a reward for his 
submission, and in the expectation of profiting by 
giving him, a subject of the king, the name of ruling 
the natives in the vicinity. 

Caunbitant (Corbitant), Sachem of Pocasset 
whom we have already noticed. 

Chicatatjbut, of the Massachusetts. 

QuADBQTJiNA, Massasoit's younger brother, who 
accompanied him to Plymouth on the occasion of his 
first visit and was undoubtedly one of the two 
"Kings of Pokanoket" whom Captain Dermer met 
in the wilds of Nemasket in 1619. 

HuTTAMOiDEN, whom I am unable to identify 
from the writings of contemporary historians either 
by this name or any other bearing a close resem- 
blance to it. 

Appanow, whom Drake takes to be Aspinet of 


Nauset, taking issue with other early writers, who 
think it was Epenow of Capawack. The closer 
SHBJlari^ty jn sound together with the recorded fact 
that after the episode of Corbitant, Squanto and 
Hobamock the month previoirs,'^" those (Sachems) 
of the island of Capawack sent to make friendship," 
leads me to beUeve that it was Epenow. He had 
sent the month before and now undoubtedly came 
in person. This is probably the same Epenow 
who, with Conecamon, was carried away by Har- 
low in 1611, and made a thrilling escape three 
years later, as already related. 

The confusion in names resulting from changes 
in speUing from sound leaves us in doubt as to the 
identity of some of the men of that period. The 
names, being written down by some Englishman aa 
the sounds struck his ear, were spelled in almost as 
many ways as there were men who had occasion 
to write them. Consequently, where differences of 
opinion arise concerning the identity of particular 
individuals, we are obUged to decide for ourselves 
which appears the most reasonable. 

My only reason for going into this question in 
detail and attempting to establish the identity of 
these sachems is to call attention to the far reach- 
ing effects of the treaty of March 22, 1621, for 
there can be no question that the event of Septem- 
ber 13 was the direct outgrowth of that treaty, as, 
indeed, were all the events to which I have just 
called attention. 

There were other matters arising at a later time 
in which the action of the natives was unquestion- 


ably influenced by the alliance between the Wam- 
panoags and the English; but I will content myself 
with calling attention briefly to one of them at this 
time, one that will be more fuUy discussed in an- 
other chapter, but is of so much consequence in 
connection with the subject now under considera- 
tion, that this array of the direct benefits resulting 
to the colonists from their treaty with Massasoit 
would not be complete without some reference to 
it; and that is the challenge sent by Canonicus to 
Plymouth in November, 1621, in the form of a 
bimdle of arrows wrapped in a rattlesnake's skin. 
We are accustomed to think of Governor Bradford's 
defiant reply, accompanied by the same skin filled 
with powder and musket balls, as the only deter- 
rent to Canonicus' ambitious project of attacking 
the colony. But it should be borne in mind that 
the Narragansetts could reach Pl3nnouth only by 
sailing around Cape Cod, which was impracticable, 
or by crossing Wampanoag territory. This would 
be an act of open hostility to the latter unless as- 
sented to, so it may have been, not the powder and 
balls alone, but the knowledge that he would have 
to contest his way with Massasoit's warriors, as 
well, that held the wily Canonicus in check. The 
Narragansetts at that time could muster at least 
three thousand warriors, and if the Wampanoags 
had been hostile to the Enghsh or even passive, it 
does not require any particularly prophetic vision 
or power of divination to read the result to the 
And so the first year passed without even the 


suspicion of any lack of good faith on the part of 
either the natives or the colonists; for no one ever 
thought of blaming Massasoit for the acts of Cor- 
bitant, or of the Manomets and Nausets. Corbi- 
tant's Pocassets were ahnost or quite as strong 
numerically as the Pokanokets alone, and their ter- 
ritory adjoined; and the Manomets and Nausets 
were way down on Cape Cod. When one stops to 
consider the way in which the tribes of the federa- 
tion were scattered, and the natives' natural love of 
freedom from interference, it is easy to see that 
the Great Sachem who could hold them together at 
all in times of peace must be both diplomat and 

But in the spring of 1622 Squanto, who evidently 
was nourishing ambitions of his own, became jealous 
of Hobamock, and caused rumors to be circulated 
which cast some doubt upon the sincerity of Mas- 
sasoit 's friendship; and Bradford tells us that 
"much anxiety existed which was increased by the 
conduct of Massasoit, who seemed to frown on us, 
and neither came nor sent to us as formerly." The 
valuation which they placed upon his friendship at 
that time, can easily be seen from this passage from 
Bradford himself. Massasoit had good reason to 
frown on them, and to refrain from coming or send- 
ing to them as formerly. This was after Squanto's 
treachery to his Great Sachem had been discovered, 
of which a more particular account will be found 
in the chapter deahng with him, and Massasoit had 
himself gone to Plymouth to request his delivery to 
him in pursuance of the treaty and had sent messen- 


gers for the same purpose, all to no avail. This 
might well cause him to wonder if the English 
looked upon the treaty as creating obligations and 
imposing duties upon only one of the signatories; 
and he may have felt himself released from a strict 
observance of its terms. From a remark made by 
him after Winslow had administered to him and re- 
Ueved him of his distress in March, 1623, it is appar- 
ent that the Great Chief's distrust of the English, 
arising from Bradford's refusal to give Squanto up 
to him, was not entirely removed until that time. 

That there was groimd for the colonists' anxiety 
is apparent from the disclosure made by Massasoit 
after his reUef by Winslow; and that there was 
justification for the acts of the natives we will show 
in a subsequent paragraph; but, after Winslow's 
visit to Sowams, there does not appear to have 
been any suspicion on the part of the settlers that 
Massasoit was a party to their projects, although 
he knew of them. 

Sometime in March, 1623, word of Massasoit's 
illness reached Plymouth, and, at Governor Brad- 
ford's behest, Edward Winslow again set out for 
Sowams, accompanied by Hobamock and a "gentle- 
man from London, named John Hamden," perhaps 
the John Hampden who afterwards distinguished 
himself as a leader of the ParUamentary forces in 
the struggle between the Commons and Charles II. 
Bradford desired them to make this trip to express 
to Massasoit his friendship, and to obtain a con- 
ference with Dutch traders who were reported to 
have been driven ashore in Narragansett Bay. 


Before their arrival the ship had been gotten off 
and so this part of their errand came to naught. 
Not so the other purpose, however, for on arriving 
at Massasoit's lodge, they found him very ill, 
scarcely able to speak and wholly unable to see. 
When he asked who had come, and was told Wins- 
low, he exclaimed: "Ah, Winslow, I shall never 
see thee again!" By administering some simple 
remedies and scraping off a thick coating which had 
gathered in his throat and on his tongue, Winslow 
soon relieved him of his suffering; whereupon he 
said: "Now I see the EngUsh are my friends and 
love me, and whilst I live I will never forget this 
kindness they have showed me." The doubt exist- 
ing since the episode over Squanto, fostered by some 
one of his wily sub-sachems, imquestionably Corbi- 
tant, who had whispered suspicions into his ears 
during his sickness, was resolved; and Massasoit 
kept his word. 

His sagamores and alUes who had come to visit 
him, some from a distance of a hundred miles, were 
told how his friends, the English, had restored him 
to health. 

When they were about to retmrn to Pljrmouth, 
Massasoit called together his most trusted coimsel- 
lors, of whom Hobamock was one, and, in the 
presence of all of them, directed Hobamock to ac- 
quaint Winslow with the existence of a plot against 
Weston's colony at Wessagusset and the settlement 
at Plymouth. He informed them that the Massa- 
chusetts Indians were the chief instigators of the 
conspiracy and impUcated the natives of Nauset, 


Paomet, Sokones, Mattachiest, Manomet, Agawam 
and the Island of Capawack, most of whom were 
his subjects, and among which were several of those 
tribes whose sachems had subscribed the declarar 
tion of allegiance to King James eighteen months 

It is significant that all the tribes impHcated were 
those who Uved remote from Pokanoket, and, es- 
pecially, that Corbitant was not openly mixed up 
in the affair. That he was in sympathy with the 
conspirators there is no doubt; and that he had en- 
deavored to secm-e his Great Sachem's consent to 
his making common cause with them is almost as 
certain; and Massasoit's withholding of that con- 
sent, notwithstanding his own serious grievance, is, 
in itself, striking evidence of his exalted character. 
The information given by him at that time was of 
inestimable value to the colonists, as it enabled 
their doughty Captain Standish to take the neces- 
sary steps to put an end to the conspiracy and save 
the colonies. 

The man who accepts at its par value the saying 
"There is no good Indian but a dead Indian," will 
see in this conspiracy conclusive evidence of Indian 
treachery and faithlessness, and will say that Massa- 
soit, knowing of it, had silently acquiesced in it up 
to the time of his restoration to health by Winslow, 
revealing it then only from gratitude for his recovery. 
To such critics, I would call attention to the fact 
that he showed his superiority to the English in his 
display of gratitude, for there is no evidence of any 
manifestation of appreciation of favors received in 


all their dealings with the Indians unless there was 
attached to it the expectation of further favors; 
and I would also call attention to the fact that the 
colonists had themselves, only a few short months 
before, protected a traitor to Massasoit in plain vio- 
lation of the express provisions of the treaty, the 
first breach; and all the natives imdoubtedy knew 
of it. This act may well have caused the simple 
natives to look upon the treaty as abrogated; and 
to consider themselves released from all obligations 
assiuned imder that or any subsequent stipulations 
or agreements; and Massasoit had good cause to 
share in such feeUng. 

But for this illness of the Great Sachem, the 
timely arrival of Winslow, and the efficacy of his 
simple remedies to alleviate the suffering man and 
arrest the progress of the disease, the colonists 
might have perished at the hands of the conspira- 
tors, and another awful example of savage treachery 
been fiu-nished to the world; and the major part of 
hvmianity would have accepted it at its face value, 
without looking into the first great cause. Indeed, 
the history of those times, as recorded by Bradford, 
might never have seen the Ught of day, and without 
his record, his failure to keep the faith with Massa^ 
soit might never have become known; for it is from 
his own narrative, providentially preserved, that we 
ascertain the story of the straining of the friendly 
relations between the whites and the natives. 

One incident, perhaps better than any other re- 
corded, except that of his disclosure to Winslow of 
the plot against the colonies, serves to illustrate the 


extent to which the old chief was influenced by 
gratitude for favors received and love for his friends. 
In 1637 Arthur Peach, a former servant of Wins- 
low's, with three accomplices, killed a Narragan- 
sett Indian in cold blood. We shall see more of the 
details in the chapter devoted to Miantonomo, and 
for the piirpose of concluding the brief mention here 
we wiU let Roger WiUiams tell the story. In his 
letter to Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts 
Bay Colony, he says, "Ousamequin coming from 
Plymouth told me that the four men were all guilty. 
I answered but one; he replied true, one wounded 
him, but all lay in wait two days and assisted. Also 
that the principal must not die, for he was Mr. 
Winslow's man; and also that the Indian was by 
birth a Nipmuck man, so not worthy that any 
other man should die for him." 

Williams had been banished from Salem two 
years before this and on his way to the Narragansett 
country, "on foot and alone in the dead of winter," 
he had been kindly entertained by Massasoit at 
Sowams; and they appear to have been on very 
friendly terms thereafter. 

I cannot refrain, in passing, from referring to one 
little pleasantry of the Great Sachem at the ex- 
pense of Winslow and his friends, and I will let the 
old chronicler tell the story. "Mr. Winslow com- 
ing in his bark from Connecticut to Narragansett, 
— and he left it there, — and intending to return 
by land, he went to Osamekin (Massasoit), the saga- 
more, his old ally, who offered to conduct him home 
to Plymouth. But before they took their journey. 


Osamekin sent one of his men to Plymouth to tell 
them that Mr. Winslow was dead; and directed 
him to show how and where he was killed. Where- 
upon there was much fear and sorrow at Plymouth. 
The next day when Osamekin brought him home, 
they asked him why he sent such a word etc. to 
which he answered that it was their manner to do 
so, that they might be more welcome when they 
came home." 

Perhaps the best tribute to the character of the 
Great Sachem extant is contained in the lamenta- 
tion of Hobamock as poured into the ears of Wins- 
low and Harhden when on their way to visit him 
in his sickness in 1623. He told them they would 
never see his like again among the Indians, con- 
tinuing, "He is no liar, he was not bloody and 
cruel Uke other Indians; iu anger and passion he 
was soon reclaimed, easy to be reconciled toward 
such as had offended him, niled by reason in such 
measure as he would not scorn the advice of mean 
men; and that he governed his men better with few 
strokes than others did with many, truly loving 
where he loved; yea, he feared we had not a faith- 
ful friend left among the Indians; showing how he 
had oft times restrained their malice etc. continuing 
a long speech, with such signs of lamentation and 
unfeigned sorrow as would have made the hardest 
heart relent." 

Such was the tribute of one of his counsellors and 
men of valor, who had Uved with him and imder his 
rule, who had sat with him in coimcil and followed 
him on the warpath. 


Carver, Bradford, Winslow, Brewster, Standish, 
in fact all the men who played a leading part in the 
opening scene of the drama enacted upon the bleak 
New England coast, passed from the stage of hu- 
man action, leaving the old chief still directing the 
affairs of his federation; but finally, he too laid 
down the sceptre and was gathered to his fathers 
in whose faith he died, having refused to accept the 
white man's rehgion, though tmdoubtedly hearing it 
preached from time to time. Whether his own in- 
herent honesty revolted at the practices of the men 
who professed a higher religion, we do not know; 
and whether, in his declining years he read in the 
encroachments of the men he had befriended, the 
approaching doom of his own people is wholly a 
matter of conjecture. The exact date of his de- 
parture from earth to the land of Ponemah is not 
recorded, nor does any one know where his remains 
were biuded.* Drake says he was alive as late as 
September, 1661, but a deed given by Wamsutta 
dated April 8, 1661, conveying what is now the 
town of Attleboro, begins "Know All Men by 
These Presents that I, Wamsutta, aUas Alexander, 
Chief Sachem of Pokanoket." This leaves some 
doubt concerning the accuracy of Drake's conclu- 
sion, although, like Passaconaway, Massasoit may 
have smrendered the tomahawk of authority to his 
eldest son before his death. 

Gone were the white men who knew him in his 
prime, when he governed his people "better with 
few strokes than others with many," when he "re- 
* See note at end of chapter. 


strained their malice," and stood the imcompromis- 
ing friend of the English, refusing to listen to the 
appeals of his sub-chiefs to speak the word which 
would have kindled a holocaust for the settlers. 
Gone were the friends of his early days, who valued 
his friendship and loved him for his native honesty 
and SLQcerity. In their place had arisen another 
generation, interested in him and his people only as 
the possessors of land they coveted; and so far as 
we know not a white man dropped a tear over the 
cold form of the hero who had so often stood be- 
tween them and destruction. 

Of him General Fessenden well says, "This Chief 
has never had full justice done to his character": 
and I have not attempted anything like a complete 
biography. Of his early Ufe nothing is known ex- 
cept the glimpses revealed by the lamentation of 
Hobamock and the boasting of Annawon; and even 
subsequent to that time, there are so many voids, 
so much that is left to be inferrred from the writings 
of contemporary historians that the task is well 
nigh impossible. My only purpose has been to call 
attention to the quaUties he possessed in such a 
way that "fuU justice may be done to his character." 
So little is really known of his early life that his- 
torians have not been able even to tell us his name, 
that is, the name bestowed upon him at birth. 
Massasoit and Ousamequin are the two names 
handed down to us by the early writers; and each 
of these has a multitude of variations. "Massa- 
soyt" is the way Bradford has it in his first mention 
of him, and undoubtedly fairly represents the sound 


as he heard it from Samoset; and Prince says, "the 
ancient people from their fathers in Plymouth pro- 
nounce it Mas-sa-so-it." 

Bicknell tells us that his true or tribal name was 
Ousamequin, made up of ousa, yellow, and mequin, 
feather, land that Massasoit means Great Sachem. 
Others, IPeirce .among them, think that he changed 
his name* from Massasoit to Ousamequin in 1632, 
when he: was at war with the Narragansetts; while 
still others beUeve he adopted the latter name on 
the; death of his brother Quadequina. He does not 
appear to have been known to the Pilgrims by this 
name until long after his first appearance among 
them, but this really signifies nothing, as it may 
well be that they were in ignorance of his true name 
for a long time, calling him by that which they 
heard from the lips of Samoset; and that worthy 
may have used his title and not his name in speak- 
ing of him. So there is no real conflict between 
Prince and Bicknell, and color is lent to the claim 
of the latter by the weU known practice among the 
Indians of naming their children for some tangible 
object, either animate or inanimate, hence Yellow 

Whatever his mother may have called him, to 
whatever name he may have responded when pro- 
noimced by a fond father or by brothers and sisters, 
Massasoit he is to history, and Great Sachem he was 
in name and in fact; and as Massasoit his memory- 
should be kept green, and his services to the colo- 
nists, as recorded by them, perpetuated for the 
generations yet to come; generations who will draw 


inspiration and new courage and zeal in the cause 
of freedom and humanity from the story of perils 
encountered, and hardships endured and overcome 
by the fathers, with the assistance of the friendly 
natives imder Massasoit, in estabUshing upon these 
shores a haven of civil and religious Uberty, "an 
asylum for the oppressed of all nations." 

It is to Massasoit that we pay our tribute of re- 
spect and admiration for the manly virtues, the 
heroic quaUties, that have endeared him to every 
true American who has taken the pains to analyze 
properly the records and acquaint himself with the 
facts that go to make up the beginning of American 

Note. — I am indebted to Miss Virginia Baker of Warren, 
R. "Ancient Lowams" for the information that a few years 
ago an Indian burial place was excavated in that town, and 
in one of the graves were found a feather war bonnet, the 
remains of two fine muskets and a roll of gold lace. All these 
things indicate the burial place of a man of high rank; and 
the known fact that the red horseman's coat presented to 
Massasoit by Winslow was trimmed with gold lace, leads to 
the inquiry whether this was the grave of that great chief. 



WHILE nothing definite is known of Massa- 
Boit's ancestry, the fact that the Great Chief- 
taiacy of the federation passed from him to his 
eldest son and then from the latter to a younger 
brother, together with what we know of the hered- 
itary character of the position among the other 
Algonquin groups and tribes, establishes beyond 
question his connection with a line of kings. 
Whether his father occupied the position before 
him, or it was handed down collaterally, does not 
definitely appear, nor is it of any special interest, 
except as it might throw some light upon the cus- 
toms and laws of descent of this particular federa- 
tion, and as matter of genealogical research, which 
possesses a fascination for most men. Who the man 
is and whence he came are always questions that 
arouse our interest in connection with those who 
have occupied prominent positions in the affairs 
of nations, not so much that it matters, for it is the 
man that counts, but that we sometimes like to 
speculate upon the conditions which have con- 
tributed to the production of the character 
which leaves its impress upon the history of the 



At the beginning of the white man's history in 
New England, Massasoit was known to have had 
two brothers living. Whether there were other 
brothers or sisters does not appear. Of the two 
brothers mentioned in history, Qtjadeqtjina accom- 
panied him to Plymouth in March, 1621, and is 
described as "a very proper, tall yoimg man of a 
very modest and seemly coimtenance." He is 
generally credited with being one of the two "Kings 
of Pokanoket" whom Captain Dermer interviewed 
at Nemasket in June, 1619, this conclusion un- 
doubtedly being drawn from the fact that he appears 
to have been Massasoit's companion at and after 
the time of his first actual introduction to history. 
He was probably next in age to Massasoit, as the 
other brother does not appear to have been partic- 
ularly noticed until a much later date. 

The part played by him in the affairs of the tribe 
or federation and in their deaUngs with their neigh- 
bors and the whites seems to have been an inconse- 
quential one, which leads to the conclusion that he 
was simply a younger brother of the "King," and, 
in consequence of his royal blood, a close counsellor 
and frequent companion. He died within a few 
years of the landing of the Pilgrims. 

The second brother of the Great Sachem whose 
name is variously written, as Akkompoin, Uncom- 
pawen, Woonkaponehunt, and Vucumpowet, does 
not appear prominently in history until King 
Philip's war, in which he was one of that Great 
Sachem's chief counsellors and war captains, al- 
though his name appears with that of Philip on an 

massasoit's family 131 

agreement made with the Plymouth authorities on 
August 6, 1662, where it is written under that of 
"Philip, Sachem of Pokanoket," as "Vucumpowet, 
unkell to the above said Sachem." As I shall not 
have occasion to refer to him again, a word concern- 
ing his position in the Chiefs' CoimcU will not be 
out of place here. That he was an active partici- 
pant in the affairs of the federation during Phihp's 
reign is apparent from the fact that in addition to 
the treaty or agreement of August 6, 1662, he also 
signed with Philip two others, one at Taunton, 
April 10, 1671, and the other at Plymouth, Septem- 
ber 9, 1671. He is known to have been with Phihp 
as coimsellor and captain in the war that bears the 
name of the latter; and, in this capacity, he accom- 
panied Philip on an expedition, started against 
Plymouth in July, 1676. This project proving not 
feasible, the party tmned back at Bridgewater, 8.nd 
having felled a tree across a river in the line of their 
march, to be used as a bridge, Akkompoin, who 
was one of the last to attempt to cross, was shot by 
the EngUsh who came up before he got away. This 
was on July 31, 1676, and it was this same bridge 
upon which Phihp was seen sitting the next day, 
but escaped. 

The known children of Massasoit were Wam- 
sutta, Pometacom or Metacomet, Sunconewhew, 
Amie, and possibly another daughter, as Phihp had 
a sister who was captm-ed on the same day that her 
uncle Akkompoin was shot, who may have been 
Amie, although Peirce says there is no reason to 
suppose it was she, and as she married Tuspaquin 


who had a wife living in September, 1676, there is 
very good reason for supposing that the one cap- 
tured in July was not Amie, 

Wamstjtta was first known as Mooanam, and 
both be and his younger brother Pometacom were 
given English names at the request of their father 
who brought them to Plymouth, apparently for that 
purpose, Wamsutta being then named Alexander 
and Pometacom, PhiUp, for Alexander the Great of 
Macedon and his father Phihp, respectively. Wam- 
sutta succeeded his father upon the death of the 
latter or possibly before. I have already called at- 
tention to the fact that he signed himself "Chief 
Sachem of the Pokanokets " some months before the 
last date at which some writers assert that Massa- 
soit was stiU alive. This may be explained on the 
theory that the aged chief turned over the affairs 
of the federation to his son in his old age. Before 
he assiimed the active management of the tribal 
affairs, he seems to have participated with his 
father in the sales of land and the making of treaties, 
whether in pursuit of some arrangement between 
themselves by which Wamsutta became associated 
in the government, or at the insistence of the Eng- 
lish to guard against future contingencies, we do 
not know. At any rate, we find the deed of Poka- 
noket given in 1653 signed by both, to say nothing 
of the renewal in 1639 of the original league of Mas- 
sasoit and Carver, or of Roger Williams' declara- 
tion that when he first came to the Narragansett 
country, in 1636, Massasoit and Mooanam, his son, 
gave him Seekonk, which the Plymouth colony 

massasoit's family 133 

claimed under their grant from the authorities in 
England, who, of course, had no title to it. 

In 1662, the government at Plymouth became 
suspicious of Wamsutta, and sent Captain Thomas 
Willett to investigate the truth of rumors that had 
reached them to the effect that the sachem was 
attempting to secure the cooperation of the Narra- 
gansetts in a revolt which he was planning against 
the whites. WiUett was told by Wamsutta that the 
whole story was a fabrication of the Narragansetts 
to injm-e him and bis people with the English. He 
agreed to attend the next session of the Coiirt at 
Plymouth, but did not put in an appearance. The 
colonists afterwards concluded from some rumors 
that came to them that he was on a visit to the 
Narragansett country, and this added to their sus- 
picions, they apparently assiuning the authority to 
say when and where he should move, and never giv- 
ing him or any of his race credit for visiting another 
friendly tribe for any other purpose than to stir up 
trouble for them. The government then sent 
Major Winslow, the commandant of the colonial 
miUtia, to bring him to Plymouth, just as though he 
was a common criminal, and they had jurisdiction 
over him. 

Like his father before him and his brother who 
followed him in the great chieftaincy, Wamsutta 
had himting camps at various places in what re- 
mained of his domain. There is known to have 
been one in what is now Rajrnham, one at Titicut, 
and one on the shore of Munponset Pond in HaUf ax. 
It was at the latter that Major Winslow found him 


with a number of his warriors at breakfast with their 
guns outside. Of the three early writers who re- 
late this incident, two say he had eighty men with 
him, and the other says eight. Although apprised 
of the approach of the Enghsh, he made no attempt 
to secure his arms or to escape, but remained quietly 
at his repast, which ought to have been enough to 
disarm the suspicion of any but an evil-minded man 
looking for trouble; but not Winslow. He took the 
gims and, entering the lodge, demanded that Wam- 
sutta go with him to Plymouth, a virtual prisoner, 
to answer to nothing, to men who had no authority 
over him. He refused, whereupon Winslow, pmrsu- 
ing the usual high-handed methods of the day, 
presented a loaded pistol to his breast threatening 
him with instant death if he persisted in his refusaF. 
After a parley with his people, he submitted, and 
they took up the journey, his family accompanying 
him. He was offered a horse, but declined, saying 
if the women and children could walk, he could. 
The party spent the night at Major Winslow's 
house in Duxbury, where Wamsutta was stricken 
with a raging fever, brought on, no doubt, by the 
outrages that the whites had perpetrated upon him. 
He was not their subject, but was the proud ruler of 
an independent people, and his spirit was broken 
by the inhumanity of the men who could not have 
secured a foothold upon the soil without the protec- 
tion afforded them by his father. Thus are the 
honest mistakes of men visited upon their children. 
Wamsutta's people begged to be allowed to take 
him to his home, which the English in their mag- 

massasoit's family 135 

nanimity permitted on condition that they would 
return him to Plymouth when he had recovered. 
He was called to a Higher Tribunal, however, and 
let us hope a more just and merciful one, for he died 
while descending a river in his canoe. Thus passed 
the eldest son of the defender of the colonies, and 
thus began King Phihp's war by the invasion of 
Wampanoag territory by armed men, and the cap- 
ture of the king of the country at the point of a 
loaded pistol; and yet, there are men even now, who 
tell us that King Philip started the trouble. 

Wamsutta married Tatapanmn, otherwise called 
Weetamo, and known to history as the "Squaw 
Sachem of the Pocassets." She is believed to have 
been the daughter of Corbitant; and in the war 
which resulted from the series of outrages of which 
the arrest and moral murder of her husband was the 
culmination, she followed the fortunes of her brother- 
in-law Philip, twice her brother-in-law in fact, for 
Philip married her sister, Wootonekanuske. She 
was a widow when Wamsutta married her, and, after 
his death, she married a third husband about 
whom nothing is known except his name, Queque- 
quanchett. She subsequently married a foiuiih, 
Petononowit, whom she left in consequence of his 
haviQg espoused the English cause; and she then 
formed a liaison with a young Narragansett Sa- 
chem, Quinapen, one of Phihp's captains. She was 
drowned by the breaking up of a raft near Metta- 
poisett in August, 1676. Word had reached her 
that the EngUsh forces were approaching, and there 
being no canoes available, she attempted to escape 


on an improvised raft which was not strong enough 
to withstand the buffeting of the seas. Her body 
was recovered by the English who hiunanely cut off 
her head and exposed it on a pole at Taunton, 
where, as one of their eminent divines scofl&ngly 
informs us, it was seen by some of her people who 
had been taken prisoner, who set up a lamentation 
saying it "was the head of their queen." Little 
did the poor mourners know the fate that was in 
store for them, or they might have raised a prayer 
to the Great Spirit to be allowed to share in that 
of then- "Queen." Slavery, worse than death, "the 
store of rods forfree born backs and stocks for free 
bom feet," was the lot reserved for them by their 
Christian captors. 

No doubt the apologists for the colonists will say 
that Weetamo should not have joined in PhiUp's 
nefarious scheme. She had seen her people robbed 
of their inheritance, their means of seciu-ing a live- 
lihood taken away under the pretence of purchase, 
her husband, with nothing proved against him, 
dying at the hands of the men whose existence had 
depended upon the friendship of his father, as truly 
as though he had been given the deadly poison 
which his people always believed was administered 
to him; but in spite of all this, she should have 
kissed the hand that smote her. 

PoMETACOM, Massasoit's second son and Wam- 
sutta's successor when the latter died in 1662, 
played such an important part in the affairs between 
the Indians and theu- oppressors that a separate 
chapter will be devoted to him and his captains. 

massasoit's family 137 

SuNCONEWHEw was the third son of Massasoit. 
But little is known of him, his name appearing but 
once of which I find any mention in connection with 
the so-called sale of lands to the Enghsh, and that 
with Philip's on a deed confirming the sale of Re- 
hoboth by Massasoit in 1641, the confirmatory deed 
bearing date March 30, 1668. It is said that Philip 
had a brother killed July 18, 1775, who was a great 
captain and had been educated at Harvard College. 
As there is no record of any other sons of Massasoit 
except these three, this was undoubtedly Suncone- 

Amie, the only daughter of Massasoit of whom 
anything definite is known, married Tuspaquin of 
Assawamsett, conmionly called the "Black Sa- 
chem." Their oldest son, William Tuspaquin, fol- 
lowed his father in fighting for his people in IQng 
Phihp's war, in the early part of which he met his 
death. Their second son is said to have been a 
noted warrior, and to have had a part of his jaw 
bone shot away in battle. We are left in doubt 
concerning the part he played in the war, whether 
he was fighting with his own people or with the 
English. He is mentioned as a member of Captain 
James Church's company; and it is reported that 
he died suddenly after the war while sitting in his 
wigwam. These two statements, however, are not 
entirely irreconcilable with the supposition that he 
may have been faithful to his own people, as he 
might have joined Captain Church's company after 
the war; although how he and his family escaped 
slavery is almost beyond comprehension; or how he 


came to die suddenly while sitting in his wigwam; 
for while the men of note, the chiefs and sons of 
chiefs who followed PhiUp, died suddenly, it was not 
while sitting in their wigwams. 

There is one fact that lends color to the theory 
that he followed the fortunes of his Great Chief as 
did his father and elder brother, and that is the in- 
dignation of some of his children when their brother, 
Benjamin Tuspaquin, second, married Assawetough, 
or Mercy Felix, the daughter of John Sassamon, 
whom they regarded as a traitor to his people. 

The only known descendants of Massasoit now 
living trace their lineage through this son of his 
daughter, Amie. 

In 1917, the General Court of Massachusetts 
passed the following: 

"kesolve granting annuities to teewe- 
leema mitchell and her two sisters, of 
the wampanoag tribe of indians. 

Resolved, That there shall be paid an- 
nually from the treasury of the common- 
wealth, in equal quarterly installments from 
the first day of December, nineteen himdred 
and sixteen, the sum of one hundred dollars 
each to Teeweleema Mitchell, Wootone- 
kanuske Mitchell, and Zeriah Robinson, 
three sisters, aged and needy Indian women 
of the Wampanoag tribe, residents of Lake- 
ville, who are descendants of King Philip's 
sister, and descendants of Massasoit. (Ap- 
proved February 21, 1917.)" 

massasoit's family 139 

General Ebenezer W. Peirce in his "Indian His- 
tory, Biography and "Genealogy" traces the descent 
of these three women from Benjamin Tuspaquin, 
giving names in each successive generation, and men- 
tioning another sister, Emma J., who married Jacob 
C. Safford and had two children living at the time 
of the writiQg of his book in 1878. I am recently in 
receipt of a communication from Charlotte L. 
Mitchell, the Wootonekanuske named in the resolve 
quoted above, in answer to an inquiry, in which 
she writes that one of these children, Helen G. Saf- 
ford is stiU Hving, but is confined in a hospital for 
the insane. She also speaks of her own brother 
Alonzo as still living, urmiarried and ux feeble 
health. Of the three annuitants above named, Zer- 
viah Robinson was bom (Mitchell) June 17, 1828, 
Teeweleema (known as Meliada) April 11, 1836, and 
Wootonekanuske (known as Charlotte L.), my cor- 
respondent, November 2, 1848. 

So if these five are all the hving descendants of 
Massasoit, as Peirce asserts, the royal hne will be- 
come extinct in the next generation. 

In 1917, the General Court of Massachusetts also 
passed the following: 

"eesolve to authorize the payment of 
an annuity to fannie s. butler through 
the mayor op the city op boston. 

Resolved, That there be allowed and paid 
out of the treasury of the Commonwealth 
to the mayor of the city of Boston an an- 
nuity of two hundred and fifty dollars, to 


be expended by the mayor for the benefit of 
Fannie S. Butler, granddaughter of the late 
Sylvia Sepit Thomas and daughter of the 
late Mary Angeline Thomas Butler, mem- 
bers of the Wampanoag tribe of Indians, for 
the rest of her natural life, beginning with 
the first day of December in the year nine- . 
teen himdred and sixteen, and payable in 
equal quarterly instalments. 

Chapter one hundred and seventeen of 
the resolves of the year nineteen himdred 
and fourteen is hereby repealed. (Approved 
February 17, 1917.)" 

This was an increase in an annuity first granted 
in 1914, at which time the press spoke of the an- 
nuitant as a descendant of Massasoit, and the last 
of the Wampanoags. That she is a descendant of 
Massasoit is contrary to the conclusion of Peirce, 
and evidently was not satisfactorily established be- 
fore the Committee of the Legislature which con- 
sidered the matter, otherwise they would have been 
likely to set out that fact, as they did in the case 
of the Mitchell family. Miss Mitchell, in her letter 
to me, says that Fannie S. Butler is not of the 
family. That she is not, as was stated in the news- 
papers of that day, the last of the Wampanoags, is 
conclusively shown. 

My correspondent may, however, have followed 
the same family traditions that guided Peirce in his 
writings, which fail to take account of the possibility 
of other branches of the Benjamin Tuspaquin 

massasoit's family 141 

family. This writer took great pains to trace the 
descent of this particular branch, but appears to 
have been content to estabUsh their lineage and 
rest there. He names the four children of Benja- 
min, as Esther, Hannah, Mary and Benjamin 

Esther married Tobias Sampson, a "praying In- 
dian" who lived on the reservation set off by re- 
solve of the General Court of Massachusetts in 
1701, and is said to have died without issue. There 
was an Esther Sampson living on the reservation in 
1764, but whether the same or another of the same 
name is not clear, although there is some reason for 
believing that it was not Benjamin's daughter. 

Hannah married and had two children, neither of 
whom married. 

Mary married Isaac Sissel and had three chil- 
dren, Mary, Mercy and Arabella. The family tra- 
dition says that two of them died in infancy; but 
in 1764, Mary and Mercy were on the reservation. 
This leaves only Arabella unaccoimted for; and it 
is so easy to drop a link in the attempts to pass 
such matters down from generation to generation 
that it may well be that there were two children of 
Isaac and Mary Sissel who died in infancy, besides 
these three; and that Arabella, like Mary and 
Mercy, may have lived to womanhood, but unlike 
them, she may have married and left progeny who, 
through the long lapse of time and by reason of the 
remoteness of the relationship, may have been lost 
sight of by those who attempt to hand down tradi- 
tions without complete records. 


Benjamin second, as I have at least suggested if 
not plainly stated, married Assawetough, a daugh- 
ter of John Sassamon, the Indian alleged to have 
been murdered for disclosing to the whites King 
PhiUp's plan for a general uprising among the In- 
dians; and who, according to tradition, was the 
same man who had given to him for his services in 
the Pequot war, and as his share of the spoils of 
that war, a "young httle squaw," whom he after- 
wards married and who is said to be a daughter of 
Sassacus. If the famUy tradition which connects 
John Sassamon with the Massachusetts Indian of a 
somewhat similar name who served with the Eng- 
Ush in the war against Sassacus is reliable, it will be 
seen that this "young Httle squaw" became the 
mother of Assawetough or Mercy Felix, as she 
appears in history and tradition; and that their 
great grandchildren, the Mitchell family of Lake- 
ville, are descended in the direct line, not only from 
Massasoit, but also from Sassacus, the Pequot 
Chief; for Benjamin and Mercy had one daughter, 
named Lydia, who married an Indian named 
Walmsley and had five children. 

Four of these do not appear in the pages of any 
known history, biography or genealogy; nor do any 
pubUc records, so far as known, indicate what be- 
came of them. Whether they married and have 
descendants Uving is not definitely known, not- 
withstanding the "family tradition." 

The fifth, Paul, had seven children, four of whom 
are not mentioned beyond their names; two of 
whom are mentioned by Peirce as having married, 

massasoit's family 143 

and are left there; and the other, Phebe, was the 
mother of the annuitants named in the first of the 
resolves quoted above. The records of those early 
days were not as complete as those of today; and 
it may well be that some of these whom I have men- 
tioned have handed down the blood of the Great 
Sachem, the "friend of white men," to succeeding 

In 1701, the General Comt of Massachusetts set 
aside a tract of land in what was then Freetown 
but is now a part of Fall River, as a reservation for 
the friendly Indians, and of the twenty-five lots 
into which this reservation was divided, four, num- 
bered 19, 20, 21, and 22, were assigned to the lineal 
descendants of Benjamin Tuspaquin. At the first 
simrey of these lots in 1707, Isaac Sissel received as 
his share lot No. 20. In 1764, on the second sur- 
vey, this lot was in possession of his daughters, 
Mercy and Mary. At this second survey, lot No. 
19 was found to be in possession of "Sarah Squin 
and Esther Sampson," said to be grandchildren of 
Benjamin Squamnaway. 

The ease with which Tuspaquin could be con- 
tracted to Squin, together with the fact that these 
two women were occupjdng a lot assigned to the 
descendants of Tuspaquin, leads to the conclusion 
that Benjamin Squamnaway was Benjamin Tuspa- 
quin. The only Esther Sampson mentioned in 
history in connection with the descendants of Mas- 
sasoit, outside of this reference, was the daughter of 
Benjamin Tuspaquin, and she died childless. It is 
possible, of course, that the Esther Sampson who 


was on that lot in 1764 was Benjamin Tuspaquin's 
daughter and not his granddaughter; but this is 
extremely doubtful, for in that case she would be 
the sister of Benjamin Tuspaquin second who mar- 
ried the daughter of John Sassamon and the yovmg 
little squaw whom he had given to him at the con- 
clusion of the Pequot war, one hundred and twenty- 
seven years before, and Sassamon had been dead 
ninety years at the time of this second survey of the 

However it may be, there is a numerous family in 
Fall River and vicinity who, through an old family 
tradition, claim descent from the Esther Sampson 
who resided on the reservation in 1764. If this 
tradition is well founded, and if "Sarah Squin and 
Esther Sampson" were granddaughters of Benjamin 
Tuspaquin, it will be readily seen that this family of 
which I write are lineal descendants of Massasoit. 
To all appearances they are pure whites, although 
there is another strain of Indian blood nmning 
through the family besides the one I have men- 

I speak of this matter, not for the purpose of 
establishing the claim of any particular persons to 
the honor of the royal blood of the house of Massa- 
soit, as it will be noticed that I have carefully re- 
frained from any mention of names; but to call 
attention to the ease with which a people may be 
lost in so far as its original identity is concerned, and 
yet may live on and on through the intermingling of 
its blood with that of other races, with the result 
that after a few generations all direct trace of it is 

massasoit's family 145 

lost by reason of the incompleteness of the early 
records. So it may well be that the blood of Mas- 
sasoit and other noted warriors and chiefs of the 
early days flows in the veins of men who are them- 
selves ignorant of the fact. 



IT is doubtful if more welcome words of greeting 
ever fell on mortal ears than those that broke 
the startled air of Leyden Street in Plymouth on the 
sixteenth day of March, 1621, when the little group 
of weary Pilgrims gathered there heard from the 
Ups of Samoset those words which have gone ringing 
down the ages as the greeting of the new world to 
the voyagers from the old. They had crossed a 
storm-swept sea, had been attacked by the natives 
at Nauset, and finally had effected a landing at Ply- 
mouth, the "Plimoth on Captain John Smith's 
map." Here they had endured the hardships of a 
severe New England winter, and had suffered from 
the ravages of disease which had greatly reduced 
their niraxbers. They had not been molested by 
the Indians, although in the early spring they had 
seen some of them prowUng about the settlement, 
and on one occasion, some tools had been stolen 
while the workmen were at dinner. An air of un- 
certainty pervaded the place, and the appearance of 
the natives must have recalled with some misgiving 
the reception accorded them at Nauset. They had 
no reason to expect any different greeting here, and 
the "Welcome, Englishmen" from the lips of Samo- 


set must have sounded like the "benediction that 
follows after the prayer." 

Samosbt told them he was not of these parts, but 
from Moratiggon, "eastward a day's sail with a 
great wind, and five days by land." He also told 
them that the name of the place where they had 
landed was Patuxet, and that the people who had 
occupied it had been swept away by a pestilence 
foin- years before. He told them about Squanto, a 
native of the place, who had been carried away 
across the water and could speak Enghsh, and about 
a Great Sachem "Massasojdie," or "the Massa- 
soits," as one writer puts it, who lived to the west, 
and had sixty warriors vmder him. After partaking 
of their hospitality for the night, he went away 
saying he would bring Massasoit. That he did not 
go to Sowams, forty miles distant, is certain, for he 
appeared again the same day, and Massasoit did not 
come to Plymouth until the twenty-second. It is 
probable that the Indians who had been seen about 
the place were Nemaskets, a tribe occupying the 
territory arotmd what is now Middleboro, and 
subject to Massasoit, or possibly Massachusetts 
Indians; and that some of these, at Samoset's 
suggestion, conveyed the intelhgence to Sowams, 
Massasoit's village, that the English had encamped 
upon the himting grounds of his extinct tribe. 
When Samoset retiu:ned on the seventeenth, he 
brought five others with him, and they returned 
aU the tools that had been stolen. 

Samoset plays but little part in the history of the 
colony from that time, but his name is a household 


word in New England to this day, and his message 
to the worn and weary Pilgrims is one of the great 
outstanding incidents in the early settlement which 
will be taught to our children as long as American 
history cherishes the tradition of the men who laid 
its foundations. 

He was a sagamore of "Moratiggon" (Monhe- 
gan, off the coast of Maine), closely associated with 
the Pemaquids, if not of them; and he told the Ply- 
mouth settlers of the fishing there and conducted 
their fishing boats to the grounds. He had picked 
up a little English from the crews of ships that had 
been there to fish. What errand or mission brought 
him to the territory of the Wampanoags in that 
early spring of 1621 will never be definitely known; 
but his casual presence at that time renders his 
name coeval with our history, and gives him a last- 
ing place in the annals of New England. Of his 
subsequent life little is known except that historians 
have coimected him prominently with the territory 
around Pemaquid, Maine, and identify him with 
Captain John Somerset, who signed a deed of land 
in that vicinity on July 15, 1625. 

Squanto, whom Samoset mentioned as one who 
had been to England, and could speak English better 
than he could, was a Patuxet. His name is given as 
Tisquantvim by many early writers, and that is prob- 
ably his true name, it being shortened by the Eng- 
lish to that by which he is known. As we have 
already seen, he was one of the twenty-seven natives 
whom Captain Thomsis Hunt had carried away and 
sold into slavery in 1614. After his release he had 


been taken to England where he had lived for some 
time with a man named Slaine, and had apparently- 
been kindly treated, probably with a view to utiliz- 
ing his knowledge of the New World in future trad- 
ing expeditions. He had learned some English, and 
came back to this country with Captain Thomas 
Dermer either in 1619 or on an earlier voyage. 
Some writers say that upon his return he became a 
great chief, but, if this is true, it must have been 
prior to 1617, as his tribe was destroyed by the 
plague in that year. He was interpreter for Cap- 
tain Dermer when the latter met two "Kings 
of Pokanoket" at "Nummastaquit" (Nemasket). 
Mourt, in his Relations, speaks of him as "the only 
native of Patuxet where we now inhabit," but Brad- 
ford says, " He was a native of this place and scarce 
any left aUve besides him selfe." The latter state- 
ment is imdoubtedly the correct one, as the same 
writer, in speaking of an episode that occurred the 
following year, mentions members of his family. 
There is no doubt that he acted as interpreter 
between Governor Carver and Massasoit at the 
memorable first interview of the Great Sachem with 
the Governor, and, from that time imtil his death, 
he was of invaluable service to the English. 

Perhaps the best estimate of the value of his 
services may be made by a consideration of what 
Bradford says about the matter: "He directed them 
how to set their come, wher to take fish, and to pro- 
cure other conunodities, was also a pilott to bring 
them to unknown places for their profitt, and never 
left them till he dyed." On another occasion he 


wrote: "He showed them both the maner how to 
set it (corn) and after how to dress and tend it. 
Also he tould them except they gott fish and set 
with it (in these old groimds) it would come to noth- 
ing, and he showed them that in the middle of April 
they should have store enough come up the brooke, 
by which they begane to build, and taught, them 
how to take it," Winslow, too, adds a word along 
the same line. He says: "We set some twentie 
acres of corn and sowed some six acres of barley and 
pease, and according to the manner of the Indians, 
we manured our ground with Herings or rather 
Shadds, which we have in great abundance and take 
with great ease at our doores." Captain John 
Smith had previously alluded to the Indian method 
of fertihzLng their corn, saying, "they stick at every 
plant of corne, a herring or two; which cometh in 
that season in such abundance, they may take more 
than they know what to doe with." Squanto con- 
tinued with the EngUsh from the time of his first 
introduction to them by Samoset, adopted their 
religion, and died of a sudden sickness accompanied 
with bleeding at the nose, a common malady among 
the natives, while on a trading expedition to Cape 
Cod with Governor Bradford in September, 1622. 

The value of his services is almost beyond esti- 
mate, and they appear to have been appreciated at 
their full worth by the early settlers. Like the rest 
of his race, he seems to have been ambitious and 
jealous, his jealousy manifesting itself principally 
towards Hobamock; and his ambitious designs were 
believed by the authorities to embrace the estab- 


lishment of a powerful federation of Indians with 
himself at its head. Some further reference will be 
made to these traits of his character in connection 
with his relations with Hobamock, another early- 
friend and constant assistant to the English in their 
hunting, fishing and trading expeditions. 

Hobamock has, by his own statement, given us a 
very definite idea of his position in his tribe. In 
his defence of Massasoit in 1622, he said he was a 
"paniese," that is one of Massasoit's "chiefest cham- 
pions or men of valor." He was not only a Wam- 
panoag, but a Pokanoket, a member of the ruling 
tribe in the federation, and of the Great Sachem's 
coimcil. He was among those who gathered at his 
bedside when he was thought to be djdng in March, 
1623, and the one whom Massasoit, in the presence 
of aU his coimsellors, charged to tell Winslow about 
the plot against the whites. He came to Plymouth 
shortly after the episode of the lost John Billington, 
as already related, and may have been the messenger 
sent by Massasoit to teU the settlers where BiUing- 
ton was. He had not been long with them when 
he showed his fidelity to his Great Chief and to the 
men whom he had befriended. In August, 1621, 
scarcely a month after he came to the English, Cor- 
bitant of Pocasset, who appears to have been a 
mischief maker, waylaid him and Squanto in a 
house at Nemasket, and threatened them, as Brad- 
ford says, "for no other cause than that they were 
friendly to the English and serviceable to them." 
Hobamock succeeded in making his escape and 
hastened to Plymouth, a distance of fifteen or six- 


teen miles. Here he told the governor of Squanto's 
pHght and a force of fourteen men was sent to rescue 
Squanto if he was alive, or to punish Corbitant, if 
he had been killed. On arriving at the house where 
they had been captured, the whites surrounded it, 
but soon learned that Squanto was alive, having 
been threatened only, and that Corbitant had gone 
away in the night, probably through fear of the con- 
sequences that were likely to foUow his attempt to 
remove or, at least, to frighten the men who were 
of so much service to the English, once the knowl- 
edge of his scheme became known to the latter, as 
he well knew it would be from the moment that 
Hobamock broke away from him. 

Thus we see that Hobamock's first notable serv- 
ice to the settlers was in saving to them "their 
tongue," as Corbitant called Squanto, and in doing 
this he also saved the life of the man who soon 
after began his plottings, not only against the one 
who had saved him, but also apparently against the 
Great Sachem of both of them. Hobamock was 
probably as much concerned in doing what he be- 
lieved would be the will of his chief in this matter, 
as in saving Squanto or aiding the English, for 
knowing of Massasoit's friendship for them, he un- 
doubtedly felt that he would not coimtenance this 
outrage against their friend and helper. Besides, 
there is good reason for believing that Corbitant 
was an ambitious chief and if a favorable opportu- 
nity arose for displacing Massasoit as the head of 
the federation without danger of a miscarriage of 
his schemes, he would not put it aside. In any 


attempt of this sort, he would have to reckon with 
the English, and so they must first be rendered 
powerless. Whatever may have been Hobamock's 
motives, his act resulted in much good to the col- 

Hobamock remained with them through the win- 
ter and in the spring when they were fitting out their 
shaUop to go to Massachusetts Bay to trade with 
the Indians there, in accordance with an assurance 
they had previously given them to do so, "Hoba- 
mock told them of rumors he had that they (the 
Massachusetts) were joined with the Narragansetts 
and might betray them if they were not careful." 
He also gave them a hint of some jealousy manifested 
by Squanto towards him, which he had gathered 
from whisperings between the former and other 
Indians. That his suspicions of Squanto in this 
direction were well foimded was soon demonstrated, 
for, notwithstanding the misgivings aroused by these 
rumors, they sent the shallop away with both 
Squanto and Hobamock on board, deeming it best 
to send them both along on account of this jealousy. 
They had hardly got imder way when an Indian of 
Squanto's family, as Bradford says, came running in, 
"in seeming great fear," and told them that the 
Narragansetts and, he thought, Massasoit were com- 
ing against them, and he got away to tell them, not 
without danger. He said there was a gathering at 
Nemasket and that he had received a blow for speak- 
ing for the English, and his face was wounded. He 
told them the Indians were determined to take 
advantage of Captain Standish's absence on the 


trading expedition to assault the town. The gov- 
ernor called the men to arms and fired a gun to re- 
call the shallop. They had not got beyond reach 
of the signal and retm-ned, but no Indians appeared. 
It was on this occasion that Hobamock protested 
his confidence in Massasoit, saying "flatly that it 
was false" and that he "presumed he would never 
have undertaken any such act without his privity, 
it being the manner amongst them not to undertake 
such enterprises without the advice and furtherance 
of men of his rank. The governor repUed that he 
should be sorry that any cause of war should arise 
with any of the savages, but especially Massaso- 
wat, not that he feared him more than the rest, but 
that his love more exceeded toward him than any." 
Hobamock rephed, "there was no cause for distrust 
and therefore he should do well to continue his 
affections." I have quoted freely from Winslow's 
account of this episode because it illustrates Squan- 
to's plotting and Hobamock's confidence in his chief 
in the manner of one who saw the entire proceeding. 
That Hobamock's faith was justified soon appeared. 
The governor caused him to send his wife to So- 
wams privately to see what she could learn of the 
situation, "pretending other occasion, but nothing 
was found and all was quiet," as Bradford relates. 
This woman finding no indication of anything 
unusual among the Pokanokets told Massasoit of 
Squanto's accusations. Naturally, "Massasoit took 
offence and came to Plymouth to clear himself and 
showed his anger towards Tisquantum." After his 
return to his own village he sent a messenger to 


Governor Bradford, "entreating him to give way 
to the death of Tisquantum who had so much abused 
him." Bradford was reluctant to lose the services 
of so valuable a man, and urged his usefulness as 
an interpreter, but Massasoit remained obdurate, 
and demanded Squanto as a "subject whom the 
governor could not retain without violating the 
treaty." He also offered many beaver skins for 
Bradford's consent, the messengers saying, "their 
Sachem had sent his own knife and them therewith 
to cut off his head and hands and bring them to 

The governor sent for Squanto, who, on being 
confronted with the accusation against him, charged 
Hobamock with being the cause of his overthrow; 
but said he would abide by the governor's decision 
although he knew what his fate would be if re- 
turned to Massasoit. Wiaslow says the governor 
was about to give him up when a boat appeared at 
sea, and being fearful of the French, he told the 
Indians, "he would first know what boat that was 
ere he would deliver him into their custody (not 
knowing whether there was a combination of 
French and Indians). Mad with rage and im- 
patient at delay the messengers departed in great 
heat." This is Winslow's account, and to us, look- 
ing at it after the lapse of three hundred years, the 
"great heat" causes no surprise. The Indians were 
not so silly as not to see through the subterfuge, 
and to read Bradford's determination to use every 
excuse and employ every pretended reason that 
presented itself for not complying with the terms 


of the treaty, when it was to his disadvantage to 
live up to its obUgations. 

The demand was not renewed, and Squanto was 
saved, but a marked coolness on the part of Massa- 
soit soon manifested itself and caused the settlers 
some uneasiness. As I have already suggested, the 
offence of Squanto, although committed in the ter- 
ritory over which the colonists had jurisdiction, was 
against his own Great Sachem. He was a subject 
of Massasoit. The only jurisdiction the Enghsh 
had over him was to punish acts against themselves. 
By Carver's pact he should have been delivered to 
his own people to be dealt with by them according 
to theu" own customs in such cases. Bradford recog- 
nizes this fact, and makes no attempt to justify his 
refusal; and Winslow tells us the governor was 
about to give him up when a boat appeared ia the 
harbor, and Bradford seized upon that as an ex- 
cuse for ftirther delaying Massasoit's messengers. 
Squanto also knew that he ought to be turned over 
to his own people and stoically consented to that 
course, if the governor should so decide. To Mas- 
sasoit and his messengers Bradford only argued his 
usefulness, which was unquestionably great, and the 
governor's evasiveness nearly cost the colony the 
friendship of Massasoit. That Squanto was actu- 
ated by his own selfish and ambitious designs was 
apparent to the authorities; for about this time in 
consequence of the incident of the spring of 1622, 
and Hobamock's report of "many secret passages 
between Squanto and other Indians," as well as 
other things that came to their attention, Bradford 


says: "They began to see that Tisquantum sought 
his owne ends and plaid his owne game, by putting 
the Indians iu fear, and drawing gifts from them 
to enrich himself e; making them beheve he could 
stir up war against whom he would and make peace 
for whom he would. Yea, he made them beUeve 
they kept the plague buried in the grovmd and 
could send it amongst whom they would, which did 
much terrifie the Indians, and made them depend 
more on him, and seeke more to him than to Massa- 
soyte; which procured him envye, and had like to 
have cost him his life. For after the discovery of 
his practices, Massasoit sought it both privately and 
openly; which ca\ised him to stick close to the 
English, and never durst goe from them till he 

Fully appreciating the value of Squanto's assist- 
ance to the people of Plymouth, the searcher after 
truth cannot ignore the fact that his ambitious 
scheming probably came near to costing them their 
hves. The plot of the Massachusetts and other 
tribes in the spring of 1623 which was foiled by 
Standish and his indomitable eight, would un- 
doubtedly not have been revealed but for Massa- 
soit's restoration to health at the hands of Winslow, 
and, if not nipped in the bud, would have been quite 
likely to have been attended with success. Massa- 
soit's failure to disclose it earUer was clearly due to 
a doubt on his part of the sincerity of the professed 
friendship of the English, and that doubt was 
aroused by the conduct of the governor in protecting 
Squanto after his perfidy to his Great Sachem be- 


came known, contrary to the terms of Carver's and 
Massasoit's treaty. Squanto died before the full 
effect of his conduct, or before the possible effect of 
it became known, and sleeps in the grave where 
white men laid him with Christian rites. There let 
him rest, and let us not too severely criticise him. 
He was but following the dictates of a trait of hu- 
man character, that, whUe inordinately developed 
in the race of American Indians, is conamon to all. 
Shakespeare makes Cardinal Wolsey say to his de- 
voted follower, " Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away 
ambition. By that sin fell the angels. How then 
can mortal man hope to win by it?" We do not 
agree with this thought, but rather, how can mortal 
man win without it? The only difficulty is to direct 
it in the right paths and keep it within proper 
bounds. Neither of these was Squanto able to do. 
In the words of Parkman, let us attribute his act to 
the working of "the ordinary instincts of hmnanity" 
which "should be classed with the other enigmas of 
the fathomless heart." 

Din-ing the brief space of his life after the 
discovery of his schemes, the English took full 
advantage of this jealousy between hun and Hoba- 
mock to seciu-e better service from both by playing 
them against each other, — the governor " seeming to 
countenance one and Standish the other." 

Like Squanto, we are told that Hobamock re- 
mained with the English until he died. The last 
mention made of him by Bradford is in connection 
with the Day of Hiuniliation in July, 1623. Like 
Squanto, too, he was of invaluable assistance to the 


English, unquestionably of much greater service in 
their trading expeditions among the tribes on the 
cape and around Massachusetts Bay, by reason of 
his rank and standing in his own tribe, than he 
could otherwise have been, the mere fact that he 
was one of Massasoit's "chiefest men of valor" and 
war counsellors, adding to his prestige and the 
standing of the men for whom he virtually stood 

Thus passed from the stage three men whose 
activities had such a marked influence upon the 
earhest Buccessful attempt at colonization in New 
England that their names and deeds are known to 
thousands of American children who probably could 
not name the first three governors of the Plymouth 



WHEN Winslow and Hopkins visited Sowams in 
July, 1621, they learned from the Pokanokets 
that across the bay lived a powerful federation that 
had not been touched by the plague. We find them 
sometimes referred to by early writers as Narrow- 
hansetts, which perhaps was as nearly correct as the 
Englishman who heard the name spoken could re- 
produce the sound. The spelling was subsequently 
changed to Nariganset and finally to Narragansett, 
and it is by this latter name that they are known 
to history. We are told, on authority as rehable 
as any we have concerning the Indian tribes of New 
England, that they numbered twenty or twenty-five 
thousand with a war strength of from three to five 
thousand, and occupied all the territory westerly 
from Narragansett Bay and Providence River to 
the Pequot country, which extended to Wecapoag 
about five or six miles east of the Paucatuc River, 
the dividing line between Connecticut and Rhode 

The Narragansetts formed the second of the five 
great federations of New England Indians as enu- 
merated by Gookin, and dignified by Drake with the 
designation Great Sachemries. They had un- 


doubtedly been visited by the English before 1621; 
some writers, as we have abeady seen, claiming that 
the episode of Captain Waymouth with the Indians 
in 1605, as related by Rofier, occurred in the Narra- 
gansett country. The French frequented the bay 
for fishing according to the information given to 
Winslow by the people of Sowams, and so they 
were not unacquainted with the whites. 

Hutchinson says Tashtussuch was their Chief 
Sachem when the English arrived. If this is true 
he did not long remain in that position after their 
arrival, his grandson Canonicus being at the head 
of the federation In the summer of 1621. It is re- 
lated of Tashtussuch that he had two children, a son 
and a daughter, and, being vmable to match them 
according to their station and dignity, he joined 
them in marriage. Four sons were born of this 
union of whom Canonicus was the oldest, and Mas- 
cus, the father of Miantonomo, the youngest. 
Miantonomo succeeded his uncle Canonicus, and, 
after his murder on Sachem's Plain, he was in turn 
succeeded by his brother Pessacus, who was said to 
have been only twenty years old when he assumed 
the chieftaincy. Pessacus was succeeded by Mian- 
tonomo's son Canonchet who was the leader of the 
federation in King Philip's war, and who met the 
same fate as his father. By what law of descent 
the chieftaincy passed from Miantonomo to his 
brother and then back to his own line again, we do 
not know; imless the line was simply preserved for 
Miantonomo's son by some sort of regency during 
his minority; or unless the Great Chieftaincy was 


an elective position, or a great Sachem had the 
power to name his successor, both of which sugges- 
tions will hereafter receive further consideration. 

Pessacus is probably better known to history as 
Canonicus, his appearance under that name after 
the death of the first Canonicus, and especially 
after the death of Miantonomo, leading to some 
confusion of him with his grandfather by those who 
read only superficially. Another son of Mascus 
was Meika, who was also called by several other 
names, and was probably the Mishuano who mar- 
ried a daughter of Ninigret, named Magnus, later 
known as the "Sunke Squaw" or "Old Queen of the 
Narragansetts . ' ' 

That Canonicus, who was at the head of the 
federation in 1621, was a great warrior seems to be 
generally conceded, although almost nothing has 
been handed down to indicate the way in which he 
earned the "reputation, or the particular wars in 
which he engaged. The Pequots on the west must 
have caused him some trouble to prevent them 
from pushing further to the east than they did; 
and he did not live in peace and harmony with the 
Pokanokets across the bay at all times. Of his 
people it is asserted by some writers that they were 
related to the Mohicans, and by others that they 
were related to the Niantics, both of which state- 
ments are probably true in the sense that they were 
all Algonquins of the Wolf totem, as indeed were 
all the New England Indians. Their relationship 
to these two tribes may have been closer than with 
some of the others in point of time of their branch- 


ing off from the parent stock; and one is sometimes 
led to ask how much any one really knows about 
the matter, as we find Ninigret spoken of by some 
writers as a Niantic Sachem and by others as a 
Narragansett, and the leader of the tribes of the 
latter federation that joined the EngUsh in King 
Philip's war. Whatever relationship there may 
have been between them, if we are to accept as 
final a very doubtful conclusion of early writers, it 
was not close enough to aUay the alleged jealousy of 
Miantonomo, who had succeeded his uncle Canoni- 
cus as Chief Sachem of the Narragansetts, over the 
division of the remnant of the Pequots among the 
three tribes at the conclusion of the Pequot war; 
nor to prevent the Mohicans imder Uncas from 
becoming the "most deadly enemies of the Narrar 
gansetts," when the former, by reason of the de- 
struction of the Pequots, became the dominant tribe 
in the old Pequot, later the Mohican, federation. 

The settlers were to hear from them again very 
shortly, for in November, 1621, Canonicus sent one 
of his men, accompanied by a friendly Indian 
named Tokamahamon, probably a Pokanoket, 
to Pljmaouth, with a bundle of arrows tied in a 
rattlesnake's skin. Squanto and Hobamock were 
both absent at the time of their arrival, and the 
Governor decided to detain the messenger until 
their return. In the meantime "Captain Standish 
tried to find out from him what it meant. He said 
he did not surely know, but thought it meant hos- 
tiUties." Standish and Hopkins finally succeeded 
in allaying his fears, and induced him to talk; 


whereupon he told them that the messenger whom 
Canonicus had sent in the summer to treat of peace, 
upon his return "persuaded him rather to war, and, 
to the end that he might provoke him thereunto, 
detained many of the presents sent to Canonicus, 
scorning the meanness of them, both in respect of 
what he had sent the EngUsh and the greatness of 

He assured them that "upon the knowledge of the 
false carriage of the former messenger it would cost 
him his life," and that "upon the relation of their 
speech then with him, to his master, he would 
be friends with the Pilgrims." Squanto, having 
returned, then interpreted the message in the same 
way that the bearer of it had done. Governor 
Bradford took the skin, filled it with powder and 
shot and retiu-ned it to Canonicus, with a message 
of defiance, and invited him to a trial of strength. 
Canonicus refused to receive it and sent it back to 
Plymouth, and thus trouble was averted. 

I have told the story as related by Bradford, but 
I find that some writers put it a Uttle differently, 
fixing the time as February, 1622, and saying that 
Canonicus' messenger left the challenge and re- 
tired. At any rate, the governor's defiance had 
the desired effect and the English were not molested 
by the Narragansetts for fifteen years; although we 
are told by Bradford that the English were in great 
fear of them in 1622. 

In his description of the building of a fort at Ply- 
mouth in the summer of that year, after describing 
the fort in detail, he says: "It served them also as 


a meeting hoiise, and was fitted accordingly for that 
use. It was a great work for them in this weakness 
and time of wants; but the danger of the time re- 
quired it, and both the continual rumors of the 
fears from the Indians here, especially the Narigan- 
sets, and also the hearing of that great massacre in 
Virginia made all hands willing to despatch the 

In 1632, war broke out between the Narragansetts 
and the Wampanoags in which the former were, 
without doubt, the aggressors. The EngUsh, as in 
duty bound by their origiual treaty with Massasoit, 
came to the aid of their allies, the Wampanoags, and 
the war was of very short duration. 

The first serious affair that threatened discord 
between the whites and the Narragansetts directly, 
was the murder of John Oldham in 1636. Oldham 
had sailed to Connecticut to trade with the Pequots, 
and on his rettirn had been murdered by Indians at 
Munisses (Block Island). These Indians were Nar- 
ragansetts, and one early writer suggests that they 
were probably angered by the fact that Oldham was 
engaged in trade with their most deadly enemies. 
Upon complaint of this atrocity being made by the 
whites to Canonicus, he sent his nephew, Mianto- 
nomo, with two himdred men to pimish the offenders. 

Canonicus and Miantonomo succeeded in satisfy- 
ing the colonists that this was the act of some reck- 
less members of the tribe, and that they were not 
concerned in it; and retiuned Oldham's two boys, 
who were taken prisoners at the time of his death, 
and had been held by their captors. 


On October 21, 1636, Miantonomo with two sons of 
Canonicus and twenty other Indians went to Bos- 
ton to give notice of the threatening attitude of the 
Pequots; and while there entered into an agreement 
with the authorities by which each side bound itself 
not to make peace with the Pequots without the 
consent of the other. 

Following close on the heels of this warning by 
the friendly Narragansetts came confirmation of the 
word brought to Boston by Miantonomo; for on 
February 22, 1637, the Pequots attacked Saybrook 
and on April 12, Weathersfield, both in Connecticut. 
During this period Miantonomo had received other 
information which he deemed of sufficient import- 
ance to send messengers to Boston to impart to the 
authorities there; for at some time during the early 
spring he sent word that, following a custom among 
the Indians before an impending war of great mag- 
nitude, the Pequots had sent their women and chil- 
dren away to an island. A force of forty men was 
thereupon raised and sent to Narragansett to join 
Miantonomo's warriors in an advance against the 
Pequots. Aside from the part played by the Nar- 
ragansetts in the attack upon the Pequot fortress, 
any account of this war would be out of place in 
this chapter. 

Historians tell us that the Narragansetts were of 
very httle service in the attack upon the Pequot 
fort, holding themselves aloof and contenting them- 
selves with stopping such as fled. It is inconceiv- 
able that Narragansett warriors, who have never been 
accused of cowardice in the face of their enemies, 


led by such men as were at their head at that time, 
would refuse or hesitate to go against their mortal 
foes, when aided by the English, without some good 
cause; and this well-known propensity of theirs to 
mingle in the thickest of the fighting lends color to 
their claim that they had been shghted by the Eng- 
lish; and that Miantonomo, after performing good 
service, had been insulted and even threatened with 
bodily injury. It must be borne in mind in this 
connection that the Mohicans imder Uncas fought 
with the Connecticut troops in this war; and that 
the natives were inordinately jealous of any slight 
placed upon their cheifs or tribe. It is among the 
possibUities that the Mohicans, and Uncas, their 
sachem, being on very friendly terms with Captain 
Mason, the commander of the expedition, may have 
received some recognition or consideration at the 
hands of the whites that was not extended to the 
Narragansetts and their chief. Probably nothing 
would sooner kindle their resentment, as they were 
the much more powerful federation of the two; 
their chief came of an illustrious ancestry; and 
they, like most other Indians, were Ukely to con- 
sider themselves a little superior to their neighbors. 
If this surmise is correct, it was the fault of the 
whites themselves that they received no assist- 
ance from the Narragansetts; for they had hved 
among the Indians long enough to have learned 
this trait of their character, and they should have 
avoided anjrthing that would arouse the jealousy 
of one of their allies as against the other. With 
them a slight would be an insult to their chief, and 


the threat of bodily injury might have followed 
some protest on his part against the treatment of 
his people, and resulted from it. If the Indian 
claim of insult is well foimded, it shows a woful lack 
of diplomacy on the part of the whites, and their 
usual utter failure to manifest any appreciation of 
favors done or services rendered; for it was Mian- 
tonomo himself who had gone to Boston in October 
to warn the English, and had sent word of the re- 
moval of the Pequot women and children, and ap- 
prised the authorities of what such a removal meant. 

Besides, Bradford tells us that in 1636 there had 
been a war between the Pequots and the Narragan- 
setts, saying, "these Narigansets held correspond- 
ance and termes of friendship with the English of 
the Massachusetts." In this war the Mohicans im- 
doubtedly fought with the Pequots, being of their 
federation, and the Narragansetts probably saw in 
their abandoxmient of the then titular head of the 
federation a crafty scheme on the part of Uncas to 
overthrow Sassacus, as he had several times before 
attempted to do, and place his own tribe in the 
dominant position, and himself at the head of the 
nation, supported by English muskets in the hands 
of English soldiers. That this was a fact was sub- 
sequently clearly demonstrated. 

Bradford also tells us that following the truce 
after this war Governor Vane of Plymouth, with 
Roger Williams' assistance, made a treaty with the 
Narragansetts. This would be at about the same 
time that Miantonomo made the treaty with the 
authorities of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, of 


which I have abeady written. These are the first 
formal treaties between the whites and the Narra- 
gansetts of which I find any record, unless we are 
to dignify the agreranent before referred to with 
the name of a treaty. 

At the conclusion of the Pequot war in which 
they were practically wiped out, some two hundred 
smrivors were distributed among the Mohicans, 
Niantics and Narragansetts. This division is said 
to have angered the Narragansetts, and is given as 
a reason for an alleged attempt on the part of the 
latter to raise a general conspiracy against the 
English in 1640, the details of which belong more 
properly in the chapter devoted to Miantonomo. 

1643 was the year of Miantonomo's ill-fated 
expedition against the Mohicans. Sequassen, a Sa- 
chem of the Connecticut Valley, apparently 'not con- 
nected with any of the great federations, unless 
DeForest's conclusion that all the tribes of West- 
ern Connecticut were related to the Narragan- 
setts is correct, was friendly to Miantonomo and 
hostile to Uncas. Some difficulty arising between 
him and Uncas over the killing of one of the subjects 
of the latter by one of Sequassen's men, and an 
alleged attempt upon the Ufe of Uncas by shooting 
at him while he was paddling his canoe in the Con- 
necticut River, Uncas, as usual, instead of taking 
the matter into his own hands, neither he nor Se- 
quassen being under the guardianship of the English, 
complained to the authorities at Hartford, claiming 
that, for this and other acts, he ought to have six 
of Sequassen's men that he might put them to 


death. The authorities for some unaccountable 
reason thought this unfair, and the governor 
finally induced him to be content with the man who 
had committed the murder. I say for some unac- 
countable reason, because a careful reading of the 
history of that time leads one to the conclusion that 
the Connecticut authorities, frequently aided by 
those of the Massachusetts colonies, seemed more 
intent upon aiding the Mohicans than upon doing 
justice; and I am at a loss to understand this lapse 
from their usual policy. 

But, to return to the assassin, he was found to be 
a friend and relative of Miantonomo, and Sequas- 
sen refused to give him up, probably relying on the 
Narragansetts to support him. And agaia the 
magistrates showed remarkable acmnen, for, being 
unable to effect a reconcihation, they dismissed both 
Uncas and Sequassen, advising Uncas, however, to 
avenge his own grievances. Uncas thereupon in- 
vaded Sequassen's territory, burned and plundered 
as he went, and killed some seven or eight men and 
wounded others. 

Miantonomo was not the kind of man to sit by 
and see his allies treated in this maimer without 
taking some action looking towards their assistance, 
and he accordingly complained to Uncas' friends, 
the authorities of Connecticut. The governor re- 
fused to interfere; and Miantonomo gave notice to 
the governor of Massachusetts Bay, and inquired 
if the people of Massachusetts would be offended if 
he made war against the Mohicans. This notice and 
inquiry was in strict compliance with the terms of 


the treaty he had made with them. The governor 
repUed, "If Uncas had done him or his friends any 
wrong, and had refused to grant satisfaction, the 
Enghsh would leave him to choose his own course." 

He then collected a force of nine hundred or a 
thousand warriors and marched to the Connecticut 
Valley. Uncas went out to meet him and adopted 
just such a course as one would expect of him. He 
asked for a conference with Miantonomo between 
the two opposing forces (a virtual truce) and Mian- 
tonomo, with the honor of his race, beUeving that 
his enemy would adhere to its traditions and cus- 
toms, granted his request. Uncas then submitted a 
proposition that he knew Miantonomo would not 
accept, and which he probably would not have 
made if he had beheved it would be accepted. He 
proposed that the two chiefs settle the conflict by 
a personal combat between them. Miantonomo re- 
fused, saying, "my men came to fight and they shall 
fight." Uncas then fell to the ground, this being 
the prearranged signal for a shower of arrows from 
three hundred Mohican bows against their unpre- 
pared enemies who were within easy shot, and en- 
tirely imsuspicious of any such an act of perfidy. 

This is the incident of which Bradford writes 
that Miantonomo "came suddenly upon him with 
nine or ten hundred men, never denoimcing any war 
before. Uncas had only about half so many but it 
pleased God to give Uncas the victory." If they 
believed that the God they worshipped was 
"pleased" with such treachery as this, it may ex- 
plain their own treatment of the Indians; and as to 


the Narragansetts "never denouncing any v/ar be- 
fore," I am unable to find any record of Uncas' 
"denouncing any war" before he invaded the terri- 
tory of Sequassen, Miantonomo's weak ally, and 
killing his men and laying waste his country; or, 
for that matter, of the Plymouth authorities them- 
selves "denouncing any war" at a later date when 
they sent Major Winslow with an armed force to 
seize Wamsutta in his own domain and bring him 
to Plymouth at the point of a loaded pistol, because 
of some suspicion. 

When the shower of arrows feU upon them the 
Narragansetts fled. Miantonomo was wearing an 
English corselet which impeded his flight, and some 
pursuing Mohicans contented themselves with get- 
ting in his way so as to hinder him further, in order 
that Uncas himself, who appears not to have been 
in the front ranks of the pursuers, might have the 
honor of taking him. The story of Miantonomo's 
fate belongs in another place; and I will pass on to 
the effect of his mmrder upon the Narragansetts. 

The following winter the Indians on the Connect- 
icut Eiver, probably Sequassen's men, made much 
trouble; and the Narragansetts lu-ged the Governor 
of Massachusetts "that they be allowed to make 
war upon Uncas, saying he had received a ransom for 
Miantonomo's life and then executed him; but per- 
mission was refused, and they were put off with a 
promise that if it was shown that ransom had been 
received they would cause Uncas to return the 

With their usual happy faculty for believing 


what they wanted to, the colonial council decided 
the issue against the Narragansetts. The latter, 
unable to get any satisfaction, then signed an agree- 
ment not to open hostilities until the next planting 
of corn, and even then to give the English thirty 
days notice. Bradford says they also agreed that 
"if any of the Nayantick Pequots should naake any 
assault upon Uncas or any of his, they would give 
them up to the English to be pimished, and that 
they would not procure the Mowacks to come 
against him during this truce." 

I have spoken of this agreement as of the time 
of the Narragansetts' complaint in the winter fol- 
lowing Miantonomo's death, although some writers 
fix the time of its making as coincident with the 
mockery of a trial that was accorded to Miantonomo. 

These events occurred in the summer of 1643 and 
the winter following; and, in 1645, the trouble 
between the two federations broke out again with 
fresh violence, of which Roger Williams wrote to 
Winslow on June 25th of that year as follows: "The 
Narragansets and Monhiggens, with their respec- 
tive confederates, have deeply implunged them- 
selves in barbarous slaughter. For myself, I have 
(to my utmost) diswaded our neighbom-s high and 
low from armes, etc. but there is a spirit of des- 
peracion fallen upon them, resolved to revenge the 
death of their prince, and recover the ransom for 
his life, etc. or to perish with him." 

Following this outbreak the Colonists patched up 
some sort of a truce between the Narragansetts and 
Niantics on the one hand and the Mohicans on the 


other, as usual placing all the burden on the former; 
for they succeeded in some way, not made entirely 
clear, in getting the signatures of their leaders to an 
agreement to keep the peace vsdth the English 
United Colonies, Uncas and others, without requir- 
ing the Mohicans to keep their hands off the Nar- 
ragansetts or their allies west of the Connecticut 
River. This was signed by Pessacus, who, as we 
have seen, was a brother of Miantonomo and suc- 
ceeded him as Chief Sachem of the federation, Mee- 
kesano, probably Meika or Mishuanno, another 
brother of Miantonomo, who had married Magnus 
the "Old Queen of the Narragansetts" who parti- 
cipated in King Philip's war, and Witowash, all 
described as Sachems of the Narragansetts, An- 
nesquem, deputy of the Niantics, Abdas, Pummash 
and Cutchamakin. 

The spirit of the Narragansetts seems to have 
been broken by their failure to secure any satisfac- 
tion or justice from the English, and for the thirty- 
two years ensuing, before King Philip's war, they 
confined their hostilities to constant attacks upon 
the Mohicans and to acts of depredation against the 
whites and especially the clergy, upon whom they 
wreaked a terrible vengeance for their participation 
in the farcical trial and subsequent death of their 
beloved Miantonomo. 

When King Philip, roused to frenzy by the injus- 
tice of the EngUsh, rose in arms in 1675, all the Nar- 
ragansetts except a few tribes under the old Sachem 
Ninigret, who joined with the EngUsh in the destruc- 
tion of his countrjTnen, sided with Philip and played 


the part of men, meeting their fate Uke the brave 
warriors they were. I say except Ninigret, for while 
he is spoken of as a Narragansett Sachem, there is 
Uttle, or perhaps no doubt in my mind that he was 
not a true Narragansett, but a Niantic driven with 
his people across the Paucatuc by the Pequots, and 
living there on Narragansett territory under the 
protection of the Sachems of that federation. 

I have spoken of the advancement made by the 
Narragansetts in common with the Wampanoags, 
and it is of interest to note in this connection that 
DeForest, who is exceedingly skeptical concerning 
the figures given by early historians in speaking of 
the niunerical strength of the various federations, 
says that their territory was probably morej densely 
■ populated than any other part of the United States, 
and, while he attributes this fact to the excellent 
fishing about Narragansett Bay, which enabled 
more of them to live there than in other places, it 
should be borne in mind that this bay had no mo- 
nopoly on fishing, Samoset leading the Plymouth 
settlers to the shores of Maine for fish, and Cape 
Cod Bay itself being a fishing resort of the EngHsh 
before the settlement at Plymouth. The true reason 
for the density of the population, which before the 
plague undoubtedly extended to the Pokanoket and 
Pocasset territory of the Wampanoags, probably 
Hea in the fact that these federations were more 
advanced in agriculture than the other Algonquin 
tribes. In fact, DeForest says, the Narragansett 
men, unlike most of the race, did not shirk manual 
labor. He also speaks of them as of a much milder 


and more humane disposition than the Pequots and 

Under the guiding hand of the few English who 
appear to have been interested in them as men, and 
not simply as cmnberers of the earth which the 
English coveted, they made rapid progress toward 
civiUzation. It was the Narragansetts that gave 
refuge to the persecuted Quakers from Massachu- 
setts Bay. It was to them that Roger Williams 
fled when he was banished from Salem in 1636, 
after spending a part of the winter at Sowams; and 
it was among them that WiUiams Kved, loved and 
respected by them for more than forty years. It 
was to them that Gorton fled with his dissenting or 
heterodox associates when banished from Plymouth; 
and Deane thinks the council of clergymen who 
decided Miantonomo's fate may have been influ- 
enced by the fact that the Narragansetts gave him 
refuge. There is reason for his conclusion in the 
fact, already referred to, that these men who had 
fled from the old world to the wilderness of the new 
to be free from the restrictions placed upon their 
rehgious beUef and rehgious thought, as soon as 
they had foimd the haven they sought, became as 
intolerant of dissenters from their views as the 
clergy of the established church had ever been of 
them. In a word they were especially zealous to 
deprive others of the same liberty they came here 
to secure for themselves. 

The part played by the Narragansetts under the 
leadership of Pumham, Canonchet, Quinapen and 
the "Old Queen," in King Philip's war, the defec- 


tion of Ninigret, and his aid to the English in that 
war, which resulted in the extermination of his 
people, belongs more properly in another place, and 
I win pass to the consideration of the greatest chief- 
tain produced by the federation during the short 
period of its existence of which anything is known. 


THIS Great Sachem of the Narragansetts, as we 
have seen, was a nephew of Canonicus, whose 
activities in the early days of the colonies have been 
briefly adverted to, and the great grandson of Tash- 
tussuch. Notwithstanding the fact that Canonicus 
had two eons at least, who are mentioned in his- 
tory as haAong accompanied Miantonomo to Bos- 
ton in 1636, and who fought with him at Sachem's 
Plain, where they were both wounded, Miantonomo, 
the son of Canonicus' youngest brother Mascus, was 
his war captain and trusted counsellor before he 
laid down the tomahawk, and his successor in the 
Great Chieftaincy. It was Miantonomo whom he 
sent to punish the murderers of Oldham in 1636, 
and it was Miantonomo who headed the party that 
traveled to Boston on October 21 of the same year 
to apprise the EngUsh of the threatening attitude of 
the Pequots. 

While we are not famihar with the laws of descent 
among the Algonquins, gathering our information 
from all available sources, and drawing such infer- 
ences as seem warranted by known facts, it would 
seem that the Narragansetts had a different rule 
than the other federations. We see Passaconaway 
of the Pawtuckets succeeded by his son Wonolan- 


cet; Sassacus of the Pequots following his father 
Wopigwooit, and Oweneco of the Mohicans taking 
up the reins his father Uncas laid down. We find 
Massasoit of the Wampanoaga succeeded in the 
Great Chieftaincy of that federation by his eldest 
son Wamsutta, and the latter followed by his 
younger brother Pometacom, while Canonicus is 
succeeded by a son of his youngest brother, passing 
over his own sons and possibly those of two other 
brothers. If there was any uniform rule it must 
have been that the Great Sachem named his own 
successor from the warriors of his blood and family, 
or that the royal family selected their Great Sachem 
from their own number.* 

If either method was pursued, Miantonomo must 
have been a man of parts, either to have been 
named by his uncle in preference to his own sons, 
or to have secured the election from among the 
many men who were eligible to the position. We 
have seen much of his friendUness towards the 
whites; and there is yet much to be said concerning 
him ajid his activities during the short space of 
not more than seven years of his great chieftaincy. 

In 1636, after a truce had been declared between 
the Pequots and the Narragansetts, Roger Williams 
reported to Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts 
Bay that Miantonomo had told him that the Pe- 
quots had labored with the Narragansetts to per- 
suade them that the EngUsh were minded to destroy 
aU Indians. This may have been only a trick of the 
wily Sassacus to arouse the other federation to join 
* See note at end of chapter. 


him in the uprising he was then planning; but the 
events of the next forty years showed that Sassacus, 
if he was sincere in his belief, had read the EngHsh 
character and foresaw the result of their continued 
occupancy of more and more of the Indian lands, 
better than any of the other Sachems of his time. 
This incident is related here simply for the purpose 
of calUng attention to the sincerity of Miantonomo's 
friendship or his apparent sagacity in forewarning 
the whites against his own most deadly foes in the 
hope of compassing their destruction. The chances 
are strongly in favor of the first of these alterna- 
tives, because the total annihilation of the Pequots 
would only result in bringing some other tribe of 
the federation to the front, still having a powerful, 
though somewhat reduced, nation on his western 
border which was likely to be just as hostile. 

In 1638, Aithur Peach and three accomplices 
killed a Narragansett Indian who had been to Massa- 
chusetts Bay to trade, and they were taken at 
Aqmdnick by order of Roger Williams. Williams 
learned from friendly Indians of the same tribe that 
"the natives, friends of the slain man, had consulta- 
tion to kill an Englishman in revenge." Mlanto- 
nomo also heard of this, whether through Williams 
or from his own people does not appear, and he 
sent word to the English, urging them to be careful 
when on the highways, and at the same time 
threatened his own people with punishment if they 
took the matter of vengeance into their own hands, 
telling them the governor (of Plymouth) would 
see justice done, as indeed he did in this case. 


hanging Peach and two of his accomplices, the 
other escaping to Piscataqua where the settlers 
protected him. 

In 1640 rumors reached Boston that Miantonomo 
was breeding dissension, and was trying to incite 
the tribes to a general rebeUion against the whites. 
"Rebellion" is the word used by the early writers; 
but my understanding of the term is that it means 
a revolt against lawful authority, and by what 
process of reasoning the colonial governments of 
that day concluded that they had any lawful au- 
thority over the Indians is beyond my comprehen- 
sion. Why the Massachusetts authorities failed to 
take accoimt of the past, of Miantonomo's sincerity, 
which had been so often manifested, and of Uncas' 
well-known duplicity, in the controversy between 
them, which was almost constantly before the Eng- 
lish magistrates from that time imtil Miantonomo's 
death, is another of the mysteries for which history 
offers no solution; and their constant support of 
Uncas, and abandonment of the man whose char- 
acter was so much above that of Uncas that there 
is no comparison between them, places a blot upon 
the pages of the history of that period that time 
cannot efface, an indeUble stain upon their judicial 

When these rumors reached Boston in 1640, Mian- 
tonomo was summoned to appear before the gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts Bay, the English or colonial 
authorities pursuing their usual high-handed meth- 
ods of ordering men who were not under their 
jurisdiction aroimd as though they were subject 


to them. Whatever may have been Miantono- 
mo's feelings about their assumption of authority 
over him, he suppressed them, and went to 
Boston, undoubtedly willing to go the whole dis- 
tance, and not merely half way, in an effort to pre- 
serve the peace and show his readiness to observe 
the terms of his treaties and agreements with the 
whites. When he presented himself before the 
governor he demanded an investigation, and that 
his accusers be called to confront him, and if found 
to be in the wrong that they be put to death. He 
averred that Uncas and the Mohicans had become 
his enemies and were circulating this slander against 
him. Nothing was shown impUcating him in any 
wrongdoing, but the circulation of the rumors re- 
sulted in a most bitter enmity between him and 
Uncas, which was terminated only by Miantonomo's 
fall at the hands of the most treacherous Redskin 
that the New England tribes produced during the 
period covered by our knowledge of them, aided 
and abetted by the men Miantonomo had befriended. 
This enmity probably extended to the Connecti- 
cut tribes that were more friendly to Miantonomo 
than to Uncas, including the Niantics and such of 
the old Pequot tribe as had been absorbed by them; 
and was unquestionably responsible for an alleged 
attempt upon the life of Uncas who claimed to 
have been shot at and wotmded in the arm by an 
arrow from the bow of some imknown person, if 
any such attempt was actually made. At about 
this time a young Pequot was found to be in posses- 
sion of more wampum than it was thought he ought 


to have, and he fled to the Narragansetts who pro- 
tected him. Uncas rushed to the colonial authori- 
ties again, as usual, with this fresh complaint, and 
Miantonomo was once more called to Boston. On 
a hearing upon Uncas' complaint, Miantonomo 
called the Pequot as a witness, and he told in detail 
of a plot on the part of Uncas to involve Mianto- 
nomo. He said that Uncas had tried to induce him 
to teU the Enghsh that Miantonomo had employed 
him to kill Uncas; and that the latter, to give color 
to the charge, took a flint from his gun and cut his 
arm on both sides to make it appear as if an arrow 
had gone through it. The Enghsh, as usual, re- 
fused to behave this, and ordered Miantonomo to 
give the Pequot up to Uncas, another case of their 
assumption of authority they did not possess; "in- 
tending to subject him to their vengeance." Mian- 
tonomo, BtiU desirous of avoiding trouble, acquiesced, 
but claimed the right of returning the Pequot to his 
own himting grounds as he had introduced him. 
This was allowed, and some of Miantonomo's men 
started out with him to return him, but themselves 
killed tiiTTi while on the way, an act of mercy on their 
part which ought to commend itself to any one with 
a spark of himianity, for the Narragansetts knew 
what Mohican vengeance meant. 

I use the expression "as usual" in speaking of 
the Massachusetts authorities' refusal to credit the 
testimony of the witness introduced on behalf of 
Miantonomo because this seems to have been their 
constant pohcy. Miantonomo had repeatedly shown 
his friendship and good will towards them, they 


never had a particle of evidence of any breach of 
faith on his part, except such as was furnished by 
his most inveterate foe, the most resovu-ceful liar of 
the times, but they persistently refused to listen to 
evidence in his behalf, prefering to accept the 
stories circulated by his enemy whom they knew to 
be constantly plotting his overthrow, and whom 
they knew equally well to be imtrustworthy. The 
only plausible explanation I can find for their atti- 
tude towards these two chiefs, who were no more to 
be compared than are noonday and midnight, is 
that Uncas was a ready tool in their hands for the 
carrying out of their schemes against the other 
Indians, in the pohce parlance of the day a stool 
pigeon; or that the Narragansetts were more to 
be feared than the Mohicans in case of an open 

And Uncas' reason for playing this part was to 
secure the overthrow of the other Great Sachems 
of the vicinity, to reduce their federations to a state 
of vassalage, with himself the great Indian King of 
the day, supported by English soldiers. He had 
neither the prowess in battle, the mental qualities 
or the personality to accomphsh this without such 
assistance; and there was no reason for all the 
alleged attempts upon his Ufe. The hostility was 
not entirely personal, although Miantonomo had 
good reason for a strong personal enmity to him; 
but there was more than individual hostihty in- 
volved. It was the hostihty of one nation against 
another, and if any of the numerous alleged at- 
tempts upon the life of Uncas had been successful, 


it would only have resxilted in putting in his place 
another man who probably would have pursued his 
poUcy. Again, there were so many complaints by 
Uncas of these plots against bis person, rather than 
against his federation, that it seems remarkable 
that the English did not become suspicious concern- 
ing them; but if they had any such suspicion they 
carefully concealed it, and always found the issue, 
when one was presented, in favor of Uncas. If all 
the attempts to remove him, complained of, and 
emmierated by Bradford, were actually made, there 
must have been some exceedingly poor shots and 
weak hands among the conspirators against him; 
or he must have been even more skilled in magic, 
or vmder the special protection of the Great Spirit 
than was the celebrated Passaconaway. 

After the capture of Miantonomo, as already re- 
lated, Uncas endeavored to extort from him a plea 
for his life, saying that if he were Miantonomo's 
prisoner he wo\ild beg for mercy at his hands, all 
of which was undoubtedly true. Failing by this 
means to force a word from the lips of the Great 
Chief, who throughout displayed the stoicism of his 
race, Uncas then caused some of the Narragansett 
warriors, who had been taken prisoners, to be 
brought up and tomahawked before his eyes. Even 
this, evidently intended as an object lesson of what 
was in store for him, failed to move him to the 
utterance of a word. Uncas then, well knowing 
that a trial before English judges was equivalent to 
conviction and execution for Miantonomo, and to 
shirk the responsibility for his death, referred the 


case to the English who had just effected a union 
under the name of the "United Colonies of New 
England," and had provided for the appoint- 
ment of two commissioners each from Massa- 
chusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut and New 
Haven, to consider matters of common interest. 
The first Commissioners named for the several colo- 
nies were as follows: Massachusetts Bay, John 
Winthrop and Thomas Dudley; Plymouth, Edward 
Winslow and WiUiam ColKer; Connecticut, George 
Fenwick and Edward Hopkins; New Haven, The- 
oplulus Eaton and Thomas Gregson. 

Bradford relates that at their first meeting held 
September 7, 1643, at Boston, "amongst other 
things they had this matter of great consequence to 
consider on; the Narigansets, after the subduing of 
the Pequentes thought to have ruled over all the 
Indians about them; but the English especially 
those of Conightecutt, holding correspondence and 
friendship with Uncass, Sachem of the Monhigg In- 
deans which lived nere them (as the Massachusetts 
had done with the Narigansets) and he had been 
faithful to them in the Pequente Warr, they were 
ingaged to support him in his just liberties, and 
were contented that such of the surviving Pequentes 
as had submitted to him should remain with him 
and under his protection. This increased his power 
to such an extent that it was unendurable to the 
Narigansets and Miantonomo, their Chief Sachem 
(an ambitious and politick man) and he sought 
privately and by treachery (according to the Indian 
manner) to make way with him by hiring some to 


kill him. Some sought to poyson him, to knock 
him in the head in his own house and to shoot him 
and such like attempts. None of these taking 
effect, he made open warr (contrary to the covenants 
between the English and the Narigansetts and the 
Mohicans and Narigansets)." 

Bradford, and other writers following his con- 
clusions, seems not to take account of the fact that 
the Mohicans, even if augmented by all the surviv- 
ing Pequots, would have been no match for the 
Narragansetts. It requires but the application of a 
little common sense to known facts to refute all this 
nonsense about Miantonomo's jealousy on this 
score, and about the increase of Uncas' power by 
this means to such an extent " as to be unendurable " 
to the Narragansetts. The two hundred survivors 
of the Pequot warriors had been distributed, one 
hundred to the Mohicans, eighty to the Narragan- 
setts, and twenty to the Niantics; and the Niantics 
were more friendly towards Miantonomo than to 
Uncas at that time. Then why all the talk about 
Miantonomo's jealousy and the increase of Uncas' 
power? He also apparently forgets, or did not 
know, that in "making open warr," Miantonomo 
took the counsel of the Massachusetts Bay authori- 
ties, and so it was not " contrary to the covenants 
between the English and the Narragansets." 

Bradford simply follows the report of the Com- 
missioners, and later writers follow Bradford; and 
it is not difficult to guess that the Commissioners 
were hard put to it for an excuse for deciding in 
Uncas' favor; and found it in this alleged jealousy 


of the increase of Uncas' power; that is, jealousy of 
something that did not exist unless Uncas was har- 
boring other Pequots than those assigned to him. 
The Commissioners' report was so worded as to 
justify the dastardly act recommended by their five 
scape-goats and perpetrated by themselves. Upon 
what evidence they foimd the facts they do not say, 
nor is it necessary. A careful reading of history 
will convince any fair-minded man that Uncas had 
devoted six years to scheming and planning the 
overthrow of the enemy he dared not face in fair 
fight, preferring to rely upon the favor of the 
English; and that every complaint he ever made 
against Miantonomo was deliberately framed for 
that purpose. j 

It was on the evidence of Uncas' witnesses that 
the alleged facts were established. The Commis- 
sioners, unwilling to assume the responsibility for 
deciding a matter upon which they had probably 
already agreed, called in fifty clergymen, who were 
holding a conference at the time, and who chose 
five of their mraiber to decide the fate of the Narra- 
gansett Sachem. Thus the question of life or death 
was left to five men who were willing to be made 
the scape-goats, and who belonged to the profession 
that subsequently showed itself to be made up of 
the most blood-thirsty of all the English, and even 
more so than any of those whom they delighted in 
calling savages. ' , 

Who the five men were history does* not reWe, 
probably because they feared the vengeance of the 
outraged Narragansetts; but they decided in favor 


of Uncas, and the Commissioners then passed sen- 
tence; that is, they authorized Uncas to put Mi- 
antonomo to death, advising moderation in the 
manner of his execution; and promised to assist 
Uncas if the Narragansetts or others should unjustly 
assaiilt them for the execution. As if any assault 
upon them or upon their accomplices, the whites, 
for the execution, could be unjust. One is naturally 
led to ask why the English meddled in the affair at 
all. The only plausible answer is that they sought 
to terrify the natives for their own advantage. 

Bradford informs us that "Uncass followed this 
advice, and accordingly executed him in a very faire 
manner, according as they advised, with due respect 
to his honor and greatness." And he might have 
added that Uncas paid a high tribute to his mur- 
dered foe in cutting a slice of flesh from his still 
quivering body and eating it, declaring, "it is the 
sweetest meat I ever ate. It makes my heart 

One piece of the evidence upon which the issue 
was decided is of suflacient importance to warrant a 
word of comment. When the people of Ehode 
Island, who lived near Miantonomo, and whom he 
had often befriended, took sides with him, beUeving 
him to be mainly in the right, Uncas' followers told 
the authorities at Hartford that Miantonomo had 
engaged the Mohawks to join him and that they 
were then encamped within a day's journey of the 
frontier, and were awaiting Miantonomo's libera- 
tion. The authorities apparently swallowed this 
statement, without making any attempt to verify 


it, and used it as the deciding piece of so-called evi- 
dence; thus estabUshing the truth of the last part 
of the complaint made by King Phihp to Governor 
Easton thirty-two years later, that if "twenty of 
their honest Indians testified that an Englishman 
had done them wrong it was as nothing, but if one 
of their worst Indians testified against any Indian 
or their King, when it pleased the English it was 

The decision of the Commissioners was kept secret 
until they were out of the reach of the tribes, other- 
wise the commission would probably have had an 
unhappy ending. As soon as they had had time 
to reach places of safety the authorities of Hartford 
took Miantonomo from the jail there, where he had 
been confined, and deUvered him to Uncas and his 
brother Wawequa, and they started back with him 
to their own himting groimds, one of the stipulations 
being that he was not to be executed within the 
jurisdiction of the colonists. 

When they arrived at Sachem's Plain, where the 
Mohicans had met the Narragansetts and defeated 
them by the trick referred to in the preceding chap- 
ter, Wawequa stepped behind Miantonomo and at 
a signal from Uncas struck him down with a toma- 
hawk. Then followed the incident of the eating of 
a slice of his flesh. They buried him there; a 
friend piled a heap of stones on the grave and it is 
said that for a hundred years every Narragansett 
who passed that way turned in sadness and added a 
stone to the heap upon his grave, until a large mound 
marked the place. 


Compare this case with that presented a Uttle 
later by the Narragansetts, who complained that 
Uncas had received a ransom for Miantonomo's hfe 
and then executed him, and asked, not to have 
Uncas brought in and executed if found guilty, but 
simply that the English would allow them to avenge 
their own wrongs. This request was refused, the 
Narragansetts being put off with a promise that 
if it was shown that Uncas had received a ransom 
they would cause him to return it; and then con- 
veniently deciding the issue in his favor. Thirty 
pieces of silver against a life! A few spans of wam- 
pum against the man whose lands they coveted! 

Winthrop's narrative of the farce that they called 
a trial conveys such a different impression of the 
merits of the controversy between Uncas and Mian- 
tonomo than does that of the Commissioners, that it 
gives rise to the suggestion already made that the 
latter reported the matter in such a way as to vindi- 
cate their participation in what all rehable authori- 
ties agree in pronouncing a cold-blooded murder. 

And so perished Miantonomo, the best friend the 
whites had among the Indians after Massasoit; that 
is, if they valued the friendship of a man rather 
than that of a Mohican. Historians, except Brad- 
ford, agree that he was guiltless of any offence; he 
had many times shown the greatness of his character 
in his dealings with the whites; and when it came 
to a question of simple justice at their hands, it was 
refused, and he was given up to his most cruel enemy 
for assassination by a man who could not look him 
in the face when he struck the deadly blow. 


After the condemnation of Miantonomo by a body 
of clergymen, is it any wonder that for the nejd; hun- 
dred years more clergymen fell by the tomahawk in 
New England, in proportion to their nvunbers, than 
those of any other class? Is it any wonder that, 
instead of the peace the colonists pretended to expect 
to follow this unjustifiable act, they found them- 
selves confronted by thirty years of reprisal and 
vengeance, terminating only in the extinction of the 
Narragansetts in King Philip's war? 

If we are inclined to think the penalty exacted by 
the Indians severe, let us not lose sight of the fact 
that the offence was serious, and that the simple 
natives, unable to secure the colonists' consent to 
their exacting justice, took the matter into their 
own hands, and avenged their leader's death upon 
the heads of the accomplices to his murder. 

Does any one wonder after reading the story of 
the Mohicans and Narragansetts, culminating in 
the death of the Narragansett Sachem, that the 
chiefs "had a great fear that any of their Indians 
should be called or forced to be Christians," as 
stated by Governor Easton? 

I fancy there was a shade of irony in the wily 
old Ninigret's reply to Mayhew when he asked 
permission to preach among the old Sachem's 
people. "Make the En^sh good first; try it 
on the Pequots and Mohicans and if it works, I 
will consider it." 

Do we wonder that the Christian religion failed 
to impress Massasoit, who saw the practices of the 
Christian English, and who manifested more of the 


spirit of true Christianity than all the clergy of 
New England of his time, excepting John EUot and 
Roger Williams? 

Speaking of Miantonomo and his son Canonchet, 
Schoolcraft, who is not noted for many expressions 
of sympathy with the Indians or their cause, says: 
"His imjustifiable death on Sachem's Plain is not 
so remarkable as an act of savage cruelty as it is 
of English casuistry. An Indian was made to 
strike the jexecutionary blow which Indian clemency 
or diplomacy had withheld. Canonchet also fell by 
the same questionable system." 

Note. — Since writing this chapter I have received a sug- 
estion that the sons of a great chief might lose their rights 
of succession by marrying beneath their station, a thought 
that had entirely escaped the writer's attention, but which 
seems entirely plausible. 



THE attention of the reader has abeady been 
called to the fact that Schoolcraft speaks of 
the "Wolf totem or Mohicans" as the first of the 
three clans of the Leni Lenapee or parent stock of 
the Algonquins to migrate from their ancestral 
himting groxmds, and that Gallatin thinks it was 
the only one to penetrate into strange lands. 
Whether either of these conjectures is right or 
wrong we do not certainly know, but Schoolcraft 
speaks with such positiveness of the identity of the 
"Wolfs" with the "Mahangins," as they seem to 
have been originally called, that it is probably safe 
to conclude that the Mohicans were of that totem 
and adopted as their national cognomen the name 
of the entire clan. If Gallatin is correct, we are, of 
course, led to the inevitable conclusion that all the 
tribes occupying the vast expanse of territory out- 
lined in a preceding chapter, except those who contin- 
ued to Uve around New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland 
and Eastern Permsylvania, were originally Mahangins, 
who swept out to the north, the south, the east and 
the west in successive tides, and as they became 
separated from each other formed separate federa- 


tions, all closely related, but having a sufficiently 
distinct existence, so that in the development of 
their customs and their language they eventually 
differed so materially that it has required extensive 
research by linguists into the common roots of their 
various dialects, of which there are said to have 
been more than forty, to classify them properly. 

Whatever may have been the early scope of the 
name "Mahangin," at the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century, Mohican was the name apphed to 
a tribe of the Pequot nation as it was then called. 
If Schoolcraft's belief that the Pequots were true 
Mohicans is well founded, it would be more appro- 
priate to speak of them as the Mohican Nation or 
federation, in which the Pequots, one of the tribes 
of the nation, had gained the ascendency. Other 
writers, however, assert that the Pequots were an 
inland tribe that had swept down and overwhelmed 
the Mohicans, whom they ruled as a conquered 
people. If this is true, they simply constituted an- 
other of those waves of migration to which I have 
referred, that rolled across the Nipmuck territory to 
the north and could not be stayed until they reached 
the shores of Long Island Soimd, compelling the 
Mohicans who had occupied this territory to con- 
fine themselves to the northerly portion of their 
former himting grounds, while they themselves 
settled down on the more desirable portions bor- 
dering on the water. These two theories are not 
irreconcilable, for, as we have seen, Gallatin says 
they were all "Mahangins." 

Whatever may have been their origin or their 


relationship, we find some writers who cover the 
earhest periods of American history speaking of the 
Pequot Nation as having their principal rallying 
place near the mouth of the Thames Eiver, which 
was in the territory then occupied by the true 
Pequots, "where Connecticote, Quinnipoig and 
Sassacus" were called "the three Kings, of whom 
Sassacus was the most noted warrior, though Con- 
necticote was the Chief of Chiefs." This is hardly 
reconcilable with other equally positive statements 
by other historians who tell us that Wopigwooit, 
sometimes called Pekoath, was the great chief of the 
federation until his death at the hands of Dutch 
traders about 1633. He was imdoubtedly suc- 
ceeded by his son Sassacus. 

The question that naturally arises, then, is, who 
were the other of the three kings? And if Wopig- 
wooit was the great chief as was his father before 
him, and he was succeeded by his son in the Great 
Chieftaincy, how does it come about that Connec- 
ticote was Chief of Chiefs? From what we know 
of the activities of the tribe from 1635 until its prac- 
tical extermination in 1637, it seems safe to con- 
clude that the other two kings mentioned were only 
the sachems of some subdivisions of the federation, 
perhaps of the royal hne of Wopigwooit, and high 
counsellors of the War Lord Sassacus; although 
Quinnipoig is the name given by some writers to 
one of the Connecticut River tribes. 

While Gookin and, following him, Drake, Galla- 
tin and Schoolcraft give the name Pequot to the 
first of the five great nations of New England In- 


dians, it is significant that the true Pequot territory- 
extended only from the Paucatuc River on the 
east to the Niantic on the west, and from Long 
Island Sound northerly less than half way across 
the state of Connecticut. That their territory did 
not extend westerly to the Connecticut River is 
clearly established, for while they imdoubtedly held 
sway over the western Niantics, occupying the pen- 
insula formed by the Niantic and Connecticut 
Rivers, north of these lay the Podunks, whose Sa- 
chem Waghinacut went to Boston in 1631 to try to 
induce the English to settle in the Connecticut 
VaUey. He boasted of the fertiUty of the soil and 
offered to provide settlers with corn and to give 
them eighty beaver skins if they would send a colony 
into his territory. Winthrop says he afterwards 
found that he was a very treacherous man and had 
been at war with a far greater Sachem named Pe- 
koath. DeForest, however, says the Pequots de- 
feated them in their battles and compelled them to 
submit to Pekoath. 

The Podunks, as I have said, lay north of the 
western Niantics on the east side of the Connecti- 
cut River. To be more acciu-ate I should have said 
they were north of the Waugimcks who occupied 
the territory immediately north of the western 
Niantics and also on the west side of the river. 

I am aware that in placing the limit I do on the 
Pequot territory, I am running against the claims 
of some old writers who assert that Sassacus' sway 
extended nearly to the Hudson River, as well as 
the statement of others that he had twenty-six sub- 


sachems or sagamores under him, because there 
were not twenty-six tribes in all Connecticut if the 
authorities that seem most rehable are to be be- 
lieved; and Gallatin, who appears to have made 
extensive research to gather the material for his 
Archseologia Americana, says there were seven in- 
dependent tribes west of the Coimecticut Eiver. 
DeForest, who pubhshed a history of the Con- 
necticut Indians in 1852 under the auspices of the 
Connecticut Historical Society, shows a map of Con- 
necticut as it was in 1630, on which he locates ten 
such tribes, naming them. If it should be claimed 
that these were really of the Pequot nation, we come 
right back to the fact that one of them had recently 
been at war with Pekoath (Wopigwooit) of the 
Pequots; and we are confronted with the further 
fact that the Tunxis, another of these tribes, if it 
was subject to Sassacus, did not constitute any part 
of the Mohican nation which Uncas built up on the 
ruins of the Pequot; for as we have already seen, 
Sequassen, their sachem, was more friendly to Mian- 
tonomo than to Uncas, and is said by DeForest to 
have been related to the Narragansett sachems. 

This same Sequassen owned the land where 
Hartford now stands and sold it to the English. 
DeForest says these western Connecticut tribes 
were all numerically weak, but for that matter he 
places the strength of all the New England tribes at 
a much lower figure than other writers, estimating 
the Pequots at three hundred warriors, the number - 
seen by Endicott when he was on the coast in 1636, 
rather than seven hundred as given by Captain 


Mason who overthrew them in 1637, and whose 
figures are generally accepted; and the Narragan- 
setts he gives but ten to twelve hundred warriors 
against the three to four thousand as credited to 
them by other writers, except Gookin who places 
them at one thousand. 

DeForest further contradicts the claims of Pequot 
control nearly to the Hudson, saying that a large 
part of the inhabitants of the country west of the 
Connecticut River became subject to the Mohawks, 
and that every year two old Mohawks might be seen 
going from village to village collecting tribute and 
issuing orders from the Great Council of the Five 
Nations at Onondaga. 

For that matter they all seem to have been re- 
lated, for according to Uncas' genealogy as given 
to the whites in 1679, Sassacus' grandmother was a 
daughter of the Chief Sachem of the Narragansetts, 
Uncas' mother was a sister of Sassacus' grandfather 
and Uncas himself married a daughter of Sassacus. 
So we see that Uncas the Mohican was of the royal 
house of the Pequots and married into the family, 
being a distant cousin and son-in-law of Sassacus, 
whose position he sought continuously to usurp; 
and finally, being so thoroughly despised by all the 
tribes of the federation except his own that he 
could accomplish nothing unaided, joined the Eng- 
lish against his own people for the sole purpose of 
securing the overthrow of Sassacus and the Pequot 
tribe in order to place his own tribe with himself at 
its head in the dominant position in the league. 
That he would have betrayed the English with the 


same facility had the opportvinity presented itself 
without danger to his precious scalp goes without 

The Chief Sachem of the Narragansetts, whose 
daughter Woipeguand the grandfather of Sassacus 
is said by Uncas to have married, was named 
Wekoum. This must have been the father or 
grandfather of Tashtussuch, unless the chieftaincy 
descended collaterally, and in that case either the 
uncle or great uncle. So we see that Wopigwooit, 
Sassacus and Uncas were cpusins, a few degrees re- 
moved, of Canonicus and Miantonomo who were 
their most deadly foes. 

Intermarriages between members of the ruling 
houses of the neighboring nations in intervals of 
peace would seem from this to have prevailed 
among the Indians just as it has among civilized 
peoples, but with no better results so far as it 
affected the peace of the nations. 

English colonies having been established on the 
Connecticut River, in 1633 Sassacus began the 
series of depredations that terminated in the Pe- 
quot war. The first overt act was the murder of 
Captain Stone and his crew. Stone was a trader 
from Virginia, said to have been unscrupulous in 
his dealings and addicted to drunkenness, but this 
does not appear to have contributed to his misfor- 
tune, as the Indians did not complain of any mis- 
treatment on his part when they made their defence 
for his murder, which does not appear to have been 
presented until 1636. 

Between these dates the authorities had made a 


treaty with Sassacus, and had succeeded in patching 
up some sort of a peace between him and the Nar- 
ragansett Sachems. By the terms of this treaty, 
the Pequots were to pay to the whites four hundred 
fathoms of wampum for the Narragansetts for some 
damage occasioned by their depredations. In this 
connection it is of interest to note that we find 
mention of payments of wampvmi much more fre- 
quent in the deaUngs of the Pequots and Narra- 
gansetts than of any other tribes, and this bears out 
the statement of Bradford that the Indians about 
Plymouth and the Massachusetts had none or very 
little wampum, "only it was made and kepte amonge 
the Narigansets and Pequentes, which grew rich 
and potent by it." 

The treaty to which I have referred, and which 
was expressly sought by Sassacus, who sent messen- 
gers to Boston to secure the friendship of the Eng- 
Msh, was made in 1634, but, in 1636, war broke out 
between the Pequots and the Narragansetts, and in 
the same year, the authorities charged Sassacus 
with having harbored some of the murderers of 
John Oldham, and with having failed to pay the 
wampum which he had agreed to pay by the terms 
of his treaty, and another six himdred fathoms was 
added to this by the authorities, probably as a 
penalty for harboring Oldham's murderers, although 
they do not appear to have been given any hearing 
on this charge; but this seems to have been the 
only fresh outrage against the whites or charged to 
the Pequots which would warrant the demand. 

A fleet of small vessels was fitted out at Boston 


to sail to the Pequot country to secure. satisfaction 
or punish the offenders. John Endicott was placed 
in command, with Captain Underhill commanding 
the miUtary force of ninety men. Endicott's in- 
structions were to go first to Block Island and take 
possession of it in the name of the colony, to spare 
the women and children, but to put all the men to 
the sword in punishment for the murder of Oldham, 
although more than a dozen of them had already 
been slain by Gallop and his crew at the time of 
the discovery of the offence, and Canonicus had 
sent Miantonomo with two hundred men to pimish 
them further. 

From Block Island, Endicott was to proceed to 
the Pequot coimtry, obtain the murderers of Stone 
and one thousand fathoms of wampum. It is 
worthy of note in this connection that Stone was 
miurdered before the treaty between the Pequots 
and the EngUsh, so it seems like a stale demand to 
us at this remote time. He was also to demand 
some of their children as hostages and to take 
them by force if the demand was refused. At 
Block Island, Underhill reported the killing of four- 
teen natives and the woimding of others, but the 
Narragansetts claimed that they killed only one. 

Arriving at Saybrook, Lieutenant Gardiner, the 
commander of the garrison, protested against the 
enterprise, saying, "You have come to raise a nest 
of wasps about our ears and then you will flee 
away." Events that followed showed Gardiner to 
be in the right. As the expedition sailed up the 
river the natives became much alarmed and called 


out to them from the shore inquiring if the English 
had come to kill them, to which Endicott repHed 
that the Pequots or their aUies had destroyed an 
English vessel and killed ten EngUshmen on the 
river; that their sachem had agreed to surrender 
the murderers (this appears to be the first mention 
of any such agreement) but had not yet fulfilled 
his agreement, and that the English had now come 
for them, and, if the Pequots were wise, they would 
immediately give them up. They then demanded 
one thousand fathoms of wampum for the destruc- 
tion of the English property and for their faith- 
lessness in not observing the treaty. The Pequot 
ambassador tried to justify the killing of Stone by 
telling about an earher expedition in which some 
whites (Dutch) had seized their sachem and de- 
manded a ransom of a bushel of wampum; that they 
had promised to send the sachem ashore upon the 
collection of this wampum; that the Indians had 
collected the wampum and paid it to them and they 
then brought the sachem ashore dead. When Stone 
came, they did not know the difference between the 
Dutch and the English and did what they did to 
avenge their sachem's death. 

Endicott refused to accept this explanation and 
persisted in his demand for the heads of those who 
had slain their people. Endicott's men accom- 
pUshed nothing but the burning of wigwams, wast- 
ing the com, and staving canoes, and then returned 
to Boston. This exasperated the Pequots to such 
an extent that they endeavored to induce the Nar- 
ragansetts to join with them in a general uprising, 


as related by Miantonomo to Roger Williams. Mas- 
sachusetts colonists, though having banished Wil- 
Hams because of his heterodox views, appealed to 
him to use his influence with the Narragansetts to 
prevent the culmination of this attempt, and, for- 
tunately for the colonists, WiUiams succeeded, if 
indeed the Narragansetts seriously entertained the 

The Pequots seem to have become actively hos- 
tile to the English from this time, attempting, as 
we have already seen, to secure the assistance of their 
constant enemies, the Narragansetts, in a general 
uprising, and, failing in this, they started in on their 
own account in the spring of 1637, by attacking 
Weathersfield and Saybrook. 

These open acts of aggression aroused the Con- 
necticut colonies, and their anxiety soon spread to 
those of Massachusetts. At Hartford on May 1, 
the general court adopted an order the beginning 
of which was as follows: "It is ordered that there 
shall be an offensive war against the Pequoitt, and 
that there shall 90 men be levied out of the three 
Plantacions, Harteford, Weathersfield and Windsor 
(vizt) out of Harteford 42, Windsor 30, Weathers- 
field 18, under" comande of Captaine Jo. Mason." 
June 2, a second levy of thirty was made, as follows, 
"Harteford 14, Windsor 10, Weathersfield 6," and on 
June 26 stiU another of ten apportioned to "Harte- 
ford 5, Windsor 3, Weathersfield 2." 

Massachusetts, alarmed by the disquieting re- 
ports brought in and sent in by Miantonomo, and 
the Saybrook and Weathersfield massacres, had 


started preparations even earlier than Connecticut, 
for on April 18, at a session of the General Court, a 
levy of one hundred and sixty men had been ordered, 
and the sum of six hundred pounds had been appro- 
priated to meet the expenses. It was expressly pro- 
vided that the forty men that "were lately sent to 
Saybrook" were to be accounted of said number. 
These forty were the men who made up the expedi- 
tion Bent to the Narragansett country to join Mian- 
tonomo's force as referred to in an earlier chapter. 

Plymouth, on June 7, provided for raising thirty 
men for the land forces and as "many as necessary 
to man the barque," by voluntary enlistment. 
Forty men volunteered imconditionally and three 
more "if they should be prest." 

Mason's orders were to sail down the Connecti- 
cut to Saybrook and attack the Pequot forts, of 
which there were two, from the west; but he decided 
to disobey the order and to attack from the east. 
His expedition left Hartford on May 10, and arrived 
in Narragansett Bay on the twentieth. The next 
day being the Sabbath they stayed on their boats. 
Tuesday they disembarked and Wednesday re- 
ceived word from Roger Williams of the arrival of 
forty men from Massachusetts under the command 
of Captain Patrick. Williams requested them to 
wait for this reenf or cement; but, leaving thirteen 
men in charge of the boats, Mason pushed on with 
seventy-seven whites, sixty Mohicans and two hun- 
dred or more Narragansetts. The next morning 
they reached a fort of the Niantics twelve miles 
east of the Paucatuc River; and not being entirely 


sure of the friendliness or even neutrality of Nini- 
gret, the Niantic Sachem, they surrounded the fort. 
Two hundred warriors from this tribe then joined 
them and they started out, seventy-seven whites 
and a motley gathering of five hundred Narragan- 
setts, Niantics and Mohicans. 

One writer of comparatively recent times, who 
derives his information concerning the expedition 
from Captain Mason, Trumbull and others, says 
the start was made on June 5, but other historians 
fix the date of the attack on the Pequot fort as 
May 26, and we are natiuraUy led to inquire why 
Mason delayed so long after reaching and surroimd- 
ing the Niantic fort. They left the place of debar- 
kation on Wednesday, May 23, and arrived at the 
Niantic fort the next morning, and it does not 
appear that they were delayed there. 

On arriving at the frontier the same writer tells 
us some of the Narragansetts seemed to be seized 
with fear and turned back, but Captain Mason 
pressed on, and on halting for the night at a point 
three miles west of the Paucatuc River, learned of 
the location of the two forts of the Pequots, one of 
which was on the Pequot or Niantic River and the 
other on the Mystic. As the most westerly one 
could not be reached before midnight, Mason de- 
cided to attack that on the Mystic first, and to camp 
at Porter's Rocks, a short distance from the fort, the 
following night and make an assault early in the 

Their presence at Porter's Rocks was known to 
the occupants of the fort, for at their last camp the 


troops could plainly hear the Indians shouting their 
defiance. At three o'clock in the naorning prepara- 
tions for the attack were begun. There were two 
entrances to the fort, and the plan of assault in- 
volved the entrance of one of these by Captain 
Mason with a part of the force and the other by 
Captain Underbill with the remainder. Their In- 
dian allies, having been encouraged or restrained 
from retreating only by Mason's urgent appeal to 
them to stay and see whether the English woidd 
fight or not, formed a circle far in the rear. It is 
related that Uncas was present in person at the 
attack and when asked how many of the Mohicans 
would run, replied, "all but me." (And this tvimed 
out to be true in a sense, for Mason says they all 
deserted except Uncas after the fight.) 

Mason and Underbill reached their objectives at 
almost the same moment, and Underbill entered 
without opposition, but when Mason was within a 
few feet of his entrance the barking of a dog aroused 
the sentry who rushed back shouting, "Owanux, 
Owanux," the English, the English. The Indians 
were bo panic-stricken by the suddenness of the 
attack that they offered very little effective resist- 
ance, the English immediately coming to close quar- 
ters and using swords as well as muskets. Mason 
ordered fixe-brands applied to the seventy wigwams 
within the fortification, and in a very short time the 
work of destruction was complete, the whites form- 
ing a close inner circle, and the Indians an outer 
circle to stop any who succeeded in getting through 
the inner line. Captain Mason says between six 


and seven hundred Pequot warriors perished in this 
attack, one hundred and fifty having come from 
the other fort during the night; seven were cap- 
tured and seven escaped. It is also said that three 
hundred came up from the other fort and attacked 
the EngHsh while on their way to the Pequot or 
Niantic River where they were to meet their vessels, 
but they kept them at bay until the arrival of the 
boats. Captain Patrick and his forty men were on 
the vessels, and twenty men from Massachusetts 
arrived in time to join in the attack on the fort. 
This accounts for the presence of Captain Underhill 
who was a Massachusetts man. Outside of these 
twenty, Mason had no active assistance in the as- 
sault, and the entire attacking party consisted of 
less than one himdred men, of whom two were killed 
and twenty wounded. 

Mason then took up his march to Saybrook in- 
stead of returning by the boats, no doubt intending 
to complete the work he had so auspiciously begun, 
and gather in the remnants of the tribe. On the 
way to Saybrook they fell in with a "people called 
Nayanticks, belonging to the Pequots, who fled to 
a swamp for refuge." These were the western Nian- 
tics, the eastern branch of the tribe being the people 
whom Mason found east of the Paucatuc River, and 
some two hundred of whom joined him in the 

Mason tells us that the remnant "fled into several 
parts toward Manhatance" (Manhattan?), and two 
hundred old men, women and children, who were 
found in a swamp near New Haven, gave them- 


selves up, and the rest were finally rovinded up in 
a swamp in Fairfield where they were completely 
surrounded; but about sixty or seventy broke 
through that part of the Une held by Captain 
Patrick and escaped; and one hundred and eighty 
were captured. 

DeForest says that in this flight they passed . 
through the territory of the Hanmionassetts, Quini- 
poigs and Wepauwags or Paugussetts, and of course 
they would of necessity cross the land of the western 
Niantics before coming to any of these. 

The men who made this last stand must have 
been the occupants of the western fort, who made 
their escape after the disastrous defeat of their 
tribesmen at the Mystic fort. Sassacus himself 
was in the western fort, but abandoned his tribe and, 
with twenty men, including one of his brothers and 
at least five sachems, sought safety with the Mo- 
hawks, probably preferring to take chances with 
them, notwithstanding the fact that at some earUer 
time he had made war upon them, rather than face 
capture at the hands of the English and their Mo- 
hican and Narragansett allies, and the fate that he 
knew awaited him if taken by them. He may 
have thought that the Mohawks wotild extend to 
him in his humbled position the hospitality of a foe- 
man to his fallen enemy. K such was his belief he 
miscalculated the Mohawk character, for they put 
him and all of his party except one named Minotto, 
who escaped by flight, to death and the following 
August they sent his scalp with that of his brother 
and five sachems to Hartford. It is claimed that 


the Mohawks were induced to thus destroy the 
party by bribes from the Narragansetts, but what- 
ever may have been the impeUing motive, it does 
not speak very highly for the Mohawks. If they 
did not wish to harbor them through a desire to 
avoid conflict with the EngUsh, as neutrals they 
might at least have allowed them to pass on or, at 
the worst, have tinned them over to the whites; not 
that the latter course would have helped the Pe- 
quots, but it would have placed the responsibiUty 
for their subsequent treatment where it belonged. 

And so perished the great Pequot nation and Sas- 
sacus, its chief. Some historians speak of refugees 
scattered here and there, and tell us that some of 
them fled to Uncas and some even to their ancient 
enemies, the eastern Niantics and Narragansetts; 
and then go on to say that on October 1, 1638, 
there were found to be two hundred men of them, 
including the old and feeble and the young and 
strong, who were divided as follows: eighty to Mian- 
tonomo, twenty to Ninigret and one hundred to 
Uncas. They were prohibited from using the name 
Pequot and were ordered to assume the name of the 
tribe to which they were attached. That this order 
was not strictly enforced appears from the fact that 
in 1646 two small bodies of them had settled in their 
old hunting grounds, one near the Thames and one 
near the Paucatuc, where they were known by the 
old name. The head of one of these groups was a 
Pequot, and of the other, a nephew of Ninigret, 
named Cushawashet, but more commonly called 
Wequash Cook and Herman Garrett. 


In 1655, the Commissioners of the United Colo- 
nies recognized these two bodies and appointed 
Garrett governor over the Paucatuc group and Cas- 
sassinimon governor of the other group, said then 
to be located near New London. This act of the 
commissioners was not pleasing to Uncas and he 
protested, but they refused to revoke the appoint- 
ments, and instead conferred upon the two gover- 
nors all royal privileges formerly belonging to 
sachems only. 

Some historians vary the figures given above in 
writing of the distribution of the remnant of the 
tribe, and some speak of them as though they were 
not refugees, but those who surrendered at New 
Haven or were captured at Fairfield, and the ques- 
tion naturally arises, if they were not the captives 
so taken what did become of the latter? History 
does not leave us entirely in the dark on this point, 
however, as there is enough written to warrant the 
behef that they were distributed as slaves among 
the colonists, a fate that certainly befell the women, 
some of them being taken to Massachusetts, where, 
as we have already seen, one "Uttle young squaw," 
said to be a daughter of Sassacus, was given to Sas- 
samon for his services in the war, and afterwards 
became his wife. So these two hundred probably 
were the scattering refugees; but, if they were, a 
simple problem in addition gives us from ten to 
twelve himdred Pequot warriors, where Endicott 
saw three hxmdred, and DeForest thinks this was 
the total strength of the tribes, twenty-six in num- 
ber, under Sassacus, or at least of as many of them 


as were with him in this war. Unless these refugees 
and the captives taken in the Fairfield swamp were 
the same, there were three hundred and eighty, be- 
sides the sijcty or seventy that escaped and the 
twenty who fled with Sassacus, after the fight at the 
Mystic fort. 

My reason for saying that these two hundred who 
were di-vdded were probably actual refugees is that 
there appears to have been some sort of treaty or 
agreement between the whites and the Narragan- 
setts, Niantics and Mohicans at the conclusion of 
the war, by which the Indians bound themselves 
not to harbor any Pequots, which would preclude 
any prior distribution of the captives; and it is 
worth noticing at this time that the only tribe that 
lived up to this agreement was the Narragansetts 
under Canonicus and Miantonomo, whom the whites 
subsequently gave up to be murdered by the treach- 
erous Uncas. 

As early as July, 1637, — and this date lends color 
to the belief that these two himdred were refugees 
— the Massachusetts authorities had a quarrel with 
Ninigret concerning the matter, and the Narragan- 
setts told the authorities at Boston that Uncas 
was protecting a large number of them; but before 
taking up the matter of this revelation, I will refer 
briefly to Captain Mason's account of the trouble 
the Connecticut authorities had with Ninigret on 
the same score. He says that some of the cap- 
tives — mark the word! — settled at Paucatuc con- 
trary to agreement, as claimed by the Enghsh; and 
he was sent against them. When he arrived on the 


scene he saw three hundred armed Indians across 
the river, having previously been attacked by Nini- 
gret's warriors of whom be captured seven. 

Otash, Miantonomo's brother, then came up and 
said they were Miantonomo's men. Ninigret's men 
were defiant, and, when told that the whites had 
come to destroy the Pequots because they had not 
kept their word, in that they were not to inhabit 
there, said the Pequots were good men and they 
would fight for them; they would fight Uncas but 
not the whites, who were spirits. Mason pressed on 
and destroyed crops and wigwams. 

Among the Pequots harbored by Ninigret were 
two brothers of Sassacus, and a report that he was 
about to give his daughter in marriage to one of 
them subsequently caused the colonists some anx- 
iety. There appear to be some inconsistencies in 
Mason's narrative as the men could not well have 
been Miantonomo's and Ninigret's unless the former 
had some greater authority over the latter than he 
seems to have exercised. 

To return to Uncas; upon the defeat of the Pe- 
quots and the almost complete annihilation of the 
tribe, followed by the prohibition of the use of the 
name, the Mohicans became the dominant tribe in 
the federation and Uncas was their Sachem. De- 
Forest says of him he " was selfish, jealous and tyran- 
nical." He might have said a great deal more 
that is not generally considered complimentary, and 
still have been within bounds. 

When Wopigwooit was slain by the Dutch, Uncas 
laid claim to the Great Chieftaincy, basing his claim 


on his own descent and strengthening it by the 
royal birth of his wife. He engaged in open war 
with Sassaczis over the succession; but most of the 
tribes of the federation adhered to Sassacus, and 
Uncas was defeated and fled to the Narragansetts. 
This life of an exile apparently becoming irksome to 
him, he sent a humble message to Sassacus begging 
permission to retmrn to his people. Sassacus, more 
magnanimous than wise in this respect, granted the 
desired permission on condition of submission and 
good behavior for the future. Uncas, with the du- 
plicity, deceit and treachery which marked his 
entire career, promised to behave and came back 
to the Mohicans. 

Apparently this was but the first step towards 
the accomplishment of a weU-defined purpose to 
begin his plottings against Sassacus again, for in a 
short time he was once more a fugitive from his 
own domain. Again he was pardoned upon his sub- 
mission and promise of good behavior, and again 
was compelled to flee. On each of these successive 
flights to the Narragansett country, some of his 
warriors remained, until finally his forces were so re- 
duced by these losses that he was no longer danger- 
ous, and he was again permitted to return, although 
deprived of all of his lands. He then devoted his 
entire attention to the hunt, in which two sons of 
a sister of Sassacus were his constant companions. 
These men, who, as wiU be seen by reference to Un- 
cas' genealogy of the Chiefs of the Pequots, were 
cousins of his wife, afterwards quarreled with Sas- 
sacus and fled to the Narragansett country where 
they remained. 


When the Narragansetts informed the authorities 
at Boston that Uncas was protectLag many Pequot 
fugitives, that worthy came to Boston with a 
retinue of thirty-seven warriors, bringing a present 
of twenty fathoms of wampimi for the governor, 
which he refused to receive iinless some explanation 
was made of Uncas' conduct in giving assistance to 
the Pequots. When this refusal was communicated 
to him he was somewhat perplexed, but only for a 
moment, for, hke the accomphshed Har he was, he 
soon recovered his composiore and solemnly assured 
the authorities that he had no Pequots and that all 
those who accompanied him were true Mohicans. 

The authorities, taking him at his word, accepted 
his present; Uncas then placed his hand on his 
heart and addressed the governor in these words: 
"This heart is not mine. It is yours. I have no 
men; they are all yours. Command me any hard 
thing and I will do it. I wiU never believe any 
Indian's words against the English. If any Indian 
shall kill an Englishman, I will put him to death, 
be he ever so dear to me." 

On their way back from Boston to their own 
coimtry they passed Roger WilUams' house; and one 
of their party, having become lame, stopped there. 
This man was named Wequanmugs, the son of a 
Narragansett father and a Mohican mother, and so, 
free to travel in the hunting grounds of both tribes. 
In a conversation with Mr. WiUiams he told him 
that Miantonomo had only two Pequots, both of 
whom had been captured by his warriors and were 
not volimtaiy refugees under his protection; that the 


Niantics had about sixty under Wequash Cook, 
Ninigret's nephew, who, as we have ah-eady seen, 
under the name of Herman Garrett was later ap- 
pointed governor over them with the dignity of 

WilUams then inquired if there were any Pequots 
in the party that accompanied Uncas to Boston, 
to which he rephed that there were six and gave 
their names, saying at the same time that two of 
them bad slain Englishmen, v Williams, wbc ap- 
parently had not the confidence in Uncas that the 
Massachusetts and Connecticut authorities always 
manifested, wrote down the names and sent them 
to Governor Winthrop with an accoxmt of his con- 
versation with Wequanmugs. • DeForest observes: 
"The revelation must have been peculiarly gratify- 
ing to Winthrop, as he had given to the sachem a 
fine red coat on his departure, and had defrayed his 
expenses while he remained in Boston, and furnished 
him with provision for his homeward journey, and 
dismissed him with a general letter of protection." 
This visit of Uncas to Boston was in July, 1638, 
three months before the distribution of the two hun- 
dred refugees, and while the original agreement be- 
tween the whites and the Indians concerning the 
harboring of Pequots was in full force. 

During the same summer that Uncas made this 
visit to Boston, some Pequots who had not sub- 
mitted to or taken refuge with any other tribe, but 
had remained independent, sent some of their chief 
men to Hartford with an offer to give themselves 
up to the Enghsh if their lives might be spared. 


Both Uncas and Miantonomo were thereupon 
Bummoned to Hartford to confer with the authori- 
ties concerning the disposition of this group, as well 
aa to adjust certain disputes between themselves. 
Miantonomo set out with an imposing train com- 
posed of his wife and children, several of his sachems 
and not less than one hundred and fifty warriors. 
Roger Wilhams and two other Englishmen also ac- 
companied him. Before reaching Hartford they 
were met by a number of Narragansetts returning 
to their own country from Connecticut, who com- 
plained that the Pequots and Mohicans had robbed 
them; and following close on the heels of this com- 
plaint came another from a Nipmuck clan, subject 
to the Narragansetts, that they had been plimdered 
shortly before by a band of six or seven hundred 
Indians of these two tribes and their confederates. 
They reported that this band of marauders had 
spoiled twenty-three fields of corn and robbed three 
Narragansetts who were staying with the Nipmucks, 
and were then lying in wait for Miantonomo and his 
party; and they said that some of the band had 
threatened to boil Miantonomo in a kettle. 

Miantonomo was not to be deterred by threats 
of this character and pressed on, reaching Hartford 
in safety, where he proceeded to lay before the 
Council these several causes of complaint. Uncas 
was not there, having sent a messenger to tell the 
authorities that he was too lame to attend. Haynes, 
one of the leading men in the Council, and later gov- 
ernor of the colony, said this was a very lame ex- 
cuse, and sent messengers to request him to make 


his appearance. The urgency of this message 
seems to have proved a very effective liniment, for 
he recovered from his lameness at once and re- 
paired to Hartford, bringing with him an Indian 
to testify that the party which had been in the 
Nipmuck country consisted of only one hundred 
and not six or seven, and that they took only a 
little corn for roasting and did a few other harmless 
things but no damage. This was flatly contradicted 
by the Narragansetts, but the Council was unable 
to decide where the truth lay and dismissed the 

This was one of the early instances of the leaning 
of the colonial authorities towards Uncas, to which 
I have called general attention in a preceding chap- 
ter, and of which I may have occasion to cite other 
instances. He had broken his promise concerning 
the harboring of Pequots. He had hed to Governor 
Winthrop about it. He had deliberately attempted 
to evade their request to come to Hartford for a 
conference with the Council and Miantonomo con- 
cerning the disposition of Pequots who had offered 
to give themselves up, and to discuss his own dif- 
ferences with Miantonomo, and when he did come 
finally on second and urgent request, brought one of 
his own followers as a witness to meet a charge that 
he did not know had been preferred, unless his own 
guilty knowledge of its truth was sufficient to make 
it certain that the charge would be made; and the 
word of this subject of his was taken as against that 
of the Narragansetts, and he was found not guilty. 

The magistrates then attempted to effect a recon- 


ciliation between the two sachems; and Mian- 
tonomo, although the party aggrieved by their 
decision, entered into the spirit that prompted their 
efforts, and, with the magnanimity that always 
marked his character, twice invited Uncas to feast 
with him on some venison which his hunters had 
brought in. This invitation Uncas sullenly refused, 
notwithstanding the urgent request of the magis- 
trates that he accept. 

Before leaving Hartford, Miantonomo, at a 
private conference, gave the Council the names of 
all the remaining members of the Pequot tribe who 
had been guilty of killing Englishmen. A Mst of 
these names was read to Uncas who admitted that 
it was correct. Miantonomo then said that of the 
remnants of the tribe Canonicus had none; he had 
ten or eleven out of the seventy who had submitted 
to him, the others never having come in, or having 
returned to their old hunting grounds after coming 
in; and the rest were either with the Mohicans or 
in their ancient territory, which it will readily be 
seen amounted to the same thing, as the Pequot 
territory naturally became Mohican territory when 
the last-named tribe gained the ascendency in the 
federation. If there is any truth to the charge that 
Miantonomo was jealous of the increase of Uncas' 
power by the addition of the Pequots, we do not 
need to look further for the reason. It was not be- 
cause of the allotment of them to the several tribes, 
but the fact that Uncas and Ninigret, who was the 
sachem of a tribe that had been of the old Mohican 
federation, though under Narragansett protection 


and living on Narragansett territory, had almost 
all of them, no doubt through their own in- 
ducement to them to live in their territory; and 
Ninigret in the event of hostihties was just as 
hkely to favor Uncas as he was to side with 

On the presentation of this last statement as to 
the then location of the remaining Pequots, to 
Uncas, he attempted to evade the question and the 
giving in of any accoimt, saying that he did not 
know the names of his Pequots, that he had only 
twenty, but that Ninigret and three other Niantic 
sachems had many of them. He afterwards ad- 
mitted that he had thirty, and was allowed ten 
days to bring in their names, and messengers were 
dispatched to the Niantic countiy to secure a list 
of the Pequots with them. 

It was on the lists thus furnished that the allot- 
ment was made on October 1, 1638. From what we 
know of Uncas, it requires no great stretching of 
our credulity to believe that he might, at that very 
time, be protecting many more than he reported, 
and Miantonomo, knowing that this was likely to 
be the case, had another reason for fearing trouble 
on account of his double dealing and deceit, to say 
nothing of the tendency on the part of the colonial 
authorities to favor Uncas in all matters in con- 
troversy between them, which first manifested itseK 
at the conference to which I have referred and 
which continued constantly to the end. 

I have already called attention to the hostility of 
these two chiefs and of the complaints lodged with 


the authorities by Uncas against Miantonomo dur- 
ing the Ufe of the latter, in the chapter devoted to 
the last-named chief, as well as to the culmination 
of the controversy between them by the death of 
Miantonomo on Sachem's Plain; and without re- 
peating, I will now proceed to a brief recital of some 
of the principal events in which Uncas figured after 
he had secm-ed the colonists' consent to the cold- 
blooded murder of his rival. 

His troubles did not cease upon the removal of 
Miantonomo, but rather seemed to increase, the 
first fresh outbreak resulting from the claim of the 
Narragansetts that he had agreed to release their 
chief upon payment of a ransom, a part of which 
had been paid when the jealous Mohican, with his 
usual treachery, put him to death. We have seen 
that the authorities decided this case in favor of 
Uncas, but from what has already appeared con- 
cerning the character of that chief and of his ma- 
chinations and the tendency of the whites to favor 
him, it is not difiScult for us to beheve that this was 
one of those judgments based upon poUcy rather 
than soimd reasoning, with which the history of 
that period abounds. 

In the fall of 1646, Herman Garrett, who, as we 
have seen, had established himself at the head of a 
group of Pequots west of the Paucatuc River, com- 
plained that Uncas and three hundred of his warriors 
had attacked one of their htmting parties and plun- 
dered them. Upon being summoned to Court on 
this complaint, Uncas admitted that he had done 
wrong in committing this act of violence in such 


close proximity to the English settlement, but at- 
tempted to palliate the offence by a counter charge 
that Garrett's men had hunted on Mohican grounds 
without leave. 

Before Uncas could get away from New Haven, 
where this complaint was heard, WiUiam Morton of 
New London came forward with another charge. 
Accompanied by three Pequots, Morton came in 
and related a startling story told to him by one of 
the Pequots who came with him, in which this man, 
whose name was Wampushet, said Uncas had hired 
him and two Pequot powwows for fifteen fathoms of 
wampum to wound another Indian and then charge 
the crime upon Garrett. 

Wampiishet was then called before the Council, 
and denied the story he had told to Morton, but not 
that he had told it; and then proceeded to charge 
the entire plot to Garrett, just as he had told Mor- 
ton it was originally planned. They were unable 
to shake him in his last version, and as there was 
no evidence against Uncas except what Wampushet 
had previously told Morton and now stoutly denied, 
the complaint was dismissed. Morton and the 
other Pequots 'who came in with him declared that 
Uncas must have hired Wampushet to change his 
testimony, and this plot so closely resembles the 
one revealed to the Massachusetts authorities, and 
disbelieved by them, at the time when Uncas 
claimed to have been shot through the arm with an 
arrow, that we are quite naturally led to inquire 
whether this was not actually one of the means em- 
ployed by Uncas to rid himself of rivals or enemies 


whom he feared or whose power he desired to curb, 
with the assistance of the Enghsh. 

In this last cited case, in order to obtain a clear 
view of the situation, it must be borne in mind 
that Garrett was a Niantic, and a nephew of the 
sachem of that tribe; the group over whom he had 
estabUshed himself were Uving on old Pequot terri- 
tory, and if suspicion could be fastened on Garrett, 
it would naturally reflect upon the Niantics, and 
this group of Pequots would naturally be given to 
Uncas by the Enghsh. 

It was not long after this last affair that forty- 
eight Pequots presented themselves before the Coim- 
cil. They said they had not fought against the 
whites, having fled the coimtry when the war broke 
out, and presumably returned to their old himt- 
ing groimds after its conclusion. They complained 
that Uncas had taken away their wives, robbed 
them of their corn and beans, spoiled their nets and 
extorted wampum from them. Uncas did not ap- 
pear in person to answer to this charge, but sent 
Foxon, his Chief Counsellor, who either pretended 
ignorance, or attempted to paUiate the offences. 

John Winthrop was the next complainant on be- 
half of a group of Indians, who charged Uncas and 
his brother Wawequa with having attacked this 
group with one himdred warriors, plimdered the 
people and carried away their cattle, wampum, bear 
skins, beaver skins and other articles of value. 
Foxon admitted this attack, but excused Uncas, by 
saying that he had not personally had any part in 
it, and knew nothing about it, being away at New 


Haven, and had not participated in the spoils. At 
this same time a complaint was also made against 
him for having gone over to Fisher's Island and 
broken two canoes, frightened an Indian and plun- 
dered the island. 

The great sohcitude of the magistrates for this 
precious cut-throat is shown by the penalty imposed 
upon Viim for these three outrages. He was ordered 
to pay a fine of one himdred fathoms of wampum 
when the Pequots returned to him. The Pequots, 
being the forty-eight who complained of his mal- 
treatment of them, never returned, as the magis- 
trates must have foreseen, and so he escaped scot 

About 1649 or 1650, he appears to have had a 
real grievance; for there seems no good reason to 
doubt that he was actually attacked while on board 
an EngUsh vessel, by Cataquin, a Narragansett, 
who woimded him in the breast with a sword so 
seriously that he came very near putting an end to 
complaints both by and against the fawning Mo- 

Ninigret was charged with being the instigator of 
this plot, and Pessacus was alleged to have been 
impUcated in it. Nothing appears to have been 
pressed against the latter, but Ninigret went to Bos- 
ton where he attempted to clear himself by a coimter 
charge that the Mohicans had carried this story; 
but was reminded that Cataquin had told it to 
Captain Mason and others when he surrendered to 
the Mohicans. They let Ninigret off with a sharp 
reprimand and warning of what was likely to hap- 


pen to him if he persisted in his plotting. At the 
same time they sent word to Uncas, who was re- 
covering from his wound, that Cataquin was at his 
disposal, and there the historians leave the matter, 
probably assuming that the intelligent reader of 
Uncas' life and character does not need to be told 
what happened to Cataquin. 

But the colonial authorities were not yet rid of 
this pestiferous scoundrel, for, in 1653, he again 
sprang into the lime light with a complaint to 
Haynes, who had then become governor, that the 
Narragansetts and Niantics. were attempting to 
organize an expedition against him at New Nether- 
lands; and he related with great detail hov/ Nini- 
gret had been to Manhattan, where he had received 
a large box of powder and bullets in exchange for a 
large quantity of wampmn, and had then attended 
a coimcil of Indians from the Hudson Eiver in an 
endeavor to secure their assistance in a contemplated 
attack upon Uncas and the Enghsh. How much of 
this had a foimdation in fact, and how much was 
the product of Uncas' suspicion and jealousy is not 
established. There seems to be no doubt that 
Ninigret did make a trip to the Hudson at about 
that time, but it was never shown that it was for 
any other purpose than that of legitimate trade. 

At this same sitting of the Court, Uncas also 
complained that Ninigret had sent a present of wam- 
pum to a "Monheag Sachem," asking him to send 
men skilful in magic and poison and promising one 
hundred fathoms more of wampum upon the 
poisoner's return after the accomplishment of the 


purpose for which he was wanted. Uncas claimed 
to have intercepted the canoe which was bringing 
the party, which consisted of the conjurer and six 
other persons, one of whom was a Pequot and the 
rest Narragansetts; he said that Wampeag, one of 
the Narragansetts, had confessed the entire plot and 
pointed out the "Monheag" who had been sent to 
carry it out, whereupon the Mohicans had fallen 
upon the alleged poisoner in a rage and put him to 

This was the fourth alleged attempt upon the life 
of Uncas, and every one of them impUcated some 
rival whose power he feared, and whom he desired 
to remove with the aid of the EngUsh. They all 
savor so much of the craftiness and cunning for 
which he was so notorious, and as there is direct evi- 
dence that at least some of them were framed by 
Uncas himself, to say nothing of the strong chain of 
circimistantial evidence leading to the same con- 
clusion, we are led to doubt whether there was any 
real foimdation for any of them except the attack 
by Cataquin. 

On the other hand, the authenticity of this at- 
tempt seems to be sufficiently well estabHshed to 
give rise to the question whether there may reaUy 
not have been something in some of the other 
charges. That the English did not give fuU faith 
and credit to them is apparent from the fact that 
they did nothing with respect to two of them. 
Whatever may have been the facts, we are inevi- 
tably forced to the conclusion that Uncas was either 
a wily schemer constantly striving to increase his 


power by preferring against his rivals charges based 
upon suspicion or framed by him; or that his 
enemies really did make the attempts with a view 
to ridding the world of the most selfish, treacherous 
and unscrupulous scoundrel produced by the In- 
dians of New England diuring the period covered by 
our knowledge of them. That he was thoroughly 
despised by all the other sachems of southern New 
England goes without saying, and their hatred of 
him is to their credit. He was as thoroughly hated 
as his early rival, Miantonomo, was loved and re- 

Puffed up with the favors the English showed 
him, and their apparent readiness to lend them- 
selves to the furtherance of his schemes by decid- 
ing always in his favor whenever any issue between 
him and other Indians was presented, and letting 
him off without even a reprimand when he offered 
no defence to his outrages, — in 1661 he attacked 
the Indians at Quabaug in western Massachusetts, 
and kiUed some and took others prisoners. These 
Indians were of a Nipmuck tribe subject to Massa- 
soit, and the Massachusetts colonial authorities, in 
pursuance of their treaty obligations to that chief, 
sent word to Uncas, demandiag the release of the 
prisoners. Receiving no reply, they then arranged 
with Captain Mason, who for twenty-five years had 
been on friendly terms with Uncas, to repeat the 

Upon Mason's arrival, Uncas at first excused 
himself by saying that he had received the demand 
from Massachusetts only twenty days before; and 


said he did not know the Quabaugs were under the 
protection of the Enghsh; and then denied that 
they belonged to Ousamequim; saying they were 
subjects of a deadly enemy of the Mohicans named 
Onopequin; and, apparently not satisfied with these 
two defences, he next attempted to justify his act 
on the assumption that they were Ousamequin's 
men, by saying that the latter had repeatedly waged 
war upon the Mohicans as had his eldest son Wam- 
sutta or Alexander. To cover his entire line of 
defence, he then assured them that, notwithstand- 
ing all these things, he had set the men free, al- 
though one of them was his own cousin, and had on 
several occasions taken up arms against him. 

It will be diflicult to find a more shifty and 
thoroughly truckHng defence in the pages of his- 
tory, and on which part of it the commissioners re- 
hed we are not told; and it may be that they did 
not believe any of it, but were content to keep him 
groveling to them. In any event, they seem to 
have accepted his excuse, and not to have required 
him to give satisfaction. Upon his defence being 
laid before Wamsutta, who was at Plymouth at the 
time, he contradicted Uncas' statement concerning 
the Quabaugs and said that they were his father's 
people, and that he had made war on Uncas only 
becaiise of wrongs he had done them. 

Without attempting to cover all his activities, I 
have called attention to enough to show his char- 
acter. DeForest says: "It is not difficult to see 
why Uncas was forever at sword's points with 
sachems and tribes of his own race. His nature 


was mean and jealous and he was tyrannical. He 
was treacherous to his own people. He would ac- 
cuse before the English some one or another as 
being too dangerous or treacherous. He was the 
unscrupulous ally of the English, obeying every nod 
and sign with which they favored him and took 
every advantage which they allowed, over his 
brethren of the forest. He accused Miantonomo, 
put him to death, oppressed the valiant Pequots, 
tracked Sequassen from bis place of refuge among 
the Pecoupans and surrendered him to the colonists' 
magistrates, and finally complained to the EngKsh 
about Pessacus, Ninegret, of Mexam, of Mohansick, 
and of any sachem from whom he could possibly 
have anything to fear." 

And this was the man whom the English backed 
against their faithful friend, who stood before them 
as a man, and not a slave, who protected them 
without doing injustice to others, and of whose sad 
fate DeForest writes: "Such was the end of Mian- 
tonomo, a sachem who seems to have been re- 
spected and loved by every one who was not fearful 
of his power." 

In spite of his truckling to the English, and run- 
ning to them with complaints, and in spite of all the 
favors he had received at their hands, they knew 
him well enough not to trust him at the outbreak 
of King Phihp's war; and required him to give 
hostages for his good conduct; and he sent in two 
of his own sons, brothers of Oweneco, his eldest son, 
who was then the war chief of the nation; and they 
appear to have remained with the EngUsh through- 


out the war. Oweneco with two hundred of his 
warriors fought with the colonial armies at the 
Swamp Fight at Kingston, Rhode Island, on Decem- 
ber 19, 1675, when fifty-one of them were killed 
and eighty-two woimded. 

The Mohicans and Pequots also participated in 
other engagements, fighting with the colonists 
against the Wampanoags and Narragansetts, their 
ancient enemies, prompted, no doubt, by a desire 
to secure the overthrow of every other sachem of 
any importance and set themselves up as the domi- 
nant Indian power in southern New England up- 
held by English forces. It would seem from our 
study of the character of Uncas, that this was a 
sufficient guaranty against any misconduct on his 
part, but the men who knew him were not content 
even with this, but demanded further siu^ety, a sad 
commentary on their confidence in the man they 
had upheld for nearly half a century. 

In King Philip's war a few Nipmuck tribes and 
the Podimks joined King Philip; the other tribes of 
Connecticut remained neutral, except the western 
Niantics who seem to have come under the domi- 
nation of Uncas upon the passing of the control of' 
the nation from Sassacus to him. 

The Niantics, who have been frequently referred 
to in this and in preceding chapters, appear to have 
been a tribe of the old Mohican federation, iato 
which the Pequot invasion drove a wedge, forcing a 
part of them to the west and a part to the east, by 
reason of which they are sometimes referred to as 
the Eastern Niantics and the Western Niantics, 


and I have followed this classification in this chap- 
ter. I have referred to the location of the two 
branches. The western group seem to have been 
under complete domination of the Pequots and later 
of the Mohicans, and play no particular part in 
the early struggles between the various tribes or 
between them and the whites. That their sym- 
pathies were with Sassacus, and that they held a 
fort as a sort of second line of defence in the Pequot 
war seems fairly well estabhshed, and that they 
followed Uncas in the final struggle of the red and 
white races for the control of southern New Eng- 
land is certain. The Eastern Niantics maintained 
an independent position east of the Paucatuc, al- 
though imder the protection of the Narragansetts, 
with whom they were so closely allied that some 
writers speak of them as Narragansetts. Their his- 
tory is so mingled with that of the Narragansetts, 
Pequots and Mohicans and their activities have 
been so often referred to in these connections that 
they do not call for fiui,her comment here, except to 
call attention to the fact that, under their old 
sachem Ninigret, who had caused a vast amount of 
trouble up to 1654, they joined the whites against 
their race in the last great attempt to shake off the 
ever increasing fetters which the men they had 
befriended were constantly forging for their feet. 
In this war Ninigret's daughter Magnus, the "Old 
Queen of the Narragansett?," who was then the 
widow of Miantonomo's brother, followed the for- 
times of King Philip. 

Ninigret was a shrewd old observer of events, 


and perhaps foresaw the outcome of the struggle 
and the futility of throwing his warriors into the 
"deadly breach" against the whites, and hoped to 
secure for his people some favorable consideration 
at the hands of the men whose progress he saw no 
chance of stopping. He fell into complete disfavor 
with the whites in 1654, and his power was broken, 
and with it no doubt his spirit. That his hope of 
perpetuating his race by aiding the English, like 
Uncas' dream of an Indian Empire within or beside 
a white, was without foundation, appeared in the se- 
quel, for friend and foe have alike been swept away. 

Uncas died in 1682 or 1683, and was succeeded 
by his son Oweneco, sometimes written Oneco, who 
was the war chief of the nation during the war, 
Oneco's son Caesar succeeded him, and upon the 
death of Caesar, Uncas' youngest son Ben seized 
upon the chieftaincy, and he was succeeded by his 
son Ben, the last of the Mohican sachems. So it 
will be seen that the second generation after Uncas 
saw his race despoiled of all the prerogatives of 
royalty, if, indeed, he and his descendants from the 
time he first began to nm to the English with his 
complaints were anj^thing more than mere tools in 
their hands to preserve order, or assist them in pre- 
serving order, among the Indians for the English- 
men's own ends. 

The first Ben Uncas, according to his father's own 
statement, was iUegitijnate, Uncas saying of him 
that he was half dog, the mother being a poor 
beggarly squaw, not his wife. It was generally 
understood, however, both among the English and 


Indians, that Ben's mother was a daughter of 
Foxon, Uncas' Chief Counsellor. 

Two hundred years after Uncas began his plot- 
ting to estabUsh a great Mohican nation, with him- 
self as its ruler, all that remained of his dreams was 
a reservation of twenty-three hundred acres, four 
hvmdred and sixty of which were actually culti- 
vated by about sixty descendants of the warriors 
who, imder the leadership of Oweneco, aided the 
whites in their work of exterminating their own 
race. About an equal number was then scattered 
to all the points of the compass, and of all the one 
hundred and twenty or one himdred and twenty- 
five not more than twenty-five or thirty were of 
pure Mohican blood. One of these one hundred and 
twenty or twenty-five was Esther Cooper, a lineal 
descendant of Uncas, and so far as known the last 
of his race. This refers to 1849, and the figures are 
taken from DeForest's History of the Connecticut 

Thus faded the dream of the ambitious, unscru- 
pulous, lying and treacherous Uncas, who sought by 
subterfuge and treachery to grasp the sceptre of 
Empire from all the New England Indians, and 
died, as he Hved, despised by the men for whose 
favor he sold his birthright and betrayed his coun- 
trymen. If Indian character depended upon him 
and such as he, we would have no difficulty in agree- 
ing with the appraisals usually made of it, but, for- 
tunately for the memory of the race, it has produced 
not only an Uncas, but a Massasoit, a Miantonomo 
and a Pometacom, whose heroic deeds save it from 
obUvion, or disgrace. 



THREE histories of King Philip's war were 
written by men who lived through that peril- 
ous period, and who ought, therefore, to know 
whereof they write. The first of these to make its 
appearance was by Rev. William Hubbard of Con- 
necticut, and was pubhshed immediately after the 
close of the war; the second was by Rev. Increase 
Mather of Massachusetts, and consisted principally 
of a repetition of what Hubbard had written with- 
out giving any credit to the earlier writer. This 
work appeared in 1676 and is entitled Magnalia. 
Just what the author means by the title is not 
quite clear; but if the first part of it is from the 
Latin Magnus (great), it is most appropriately 
named, for of all the colossal monimients to cant 
and bigotry erected in an age when cant and bigotry- 
seemed to coxmt for reUgious fervor, this is easily 
Magnalia, the greatest of them all. The third 
was written by Thomas Chiorch, a son of Captain 
Benjamin Church, at his dictation, and from notes 
made, as he says, at the time. This was published 
in 1716, and ran through several editions. Captain 
Church was in a position to know as much about the 
war as any man of that time, and, consequently in a 


position to know more than any man of other 
times. The principal diflBiculty with his work is the 
air of braggadocio running through it, the tendency 
to exaggerate the ego. In fact, the entire work 
reads more like the boasting of his prowess by an 
old man than an attempt to set down historical 
facts with an eye single to absolute accuracy, and 
justice to the character of his opponents. While 
we are obliged to resort, in a large measure, to these 
three works for our facts, the beauty of all of them 
is sadly marred, the first two by the narrowness 
and spleen of the writers, and the last by the spirit 
of self-aggrandizement that permeates it. But we 
are not left entirely to the accuracy and judgment of 
these three men. Fortunately for the memory of 
the Indians, another contemporary writer, before 
the conclusion of the war, set down some observa- 
tions of his own, without spleen or prejudice, and 
without boasting. John Easton came to New Eng- 
land in 1634, and settled at Ipswich in the Massa- 
chusetts Bay Colony. Being a Quaker, he was 
soon forced to flee to Rhode Island to escape the 
penalties imposed by the Puritans of Massachusetts 
upon men who did their own thinking in religious 
matters, and whose thoughts did not coincide with 
those laid down by the men in authority, who as- 
smned the prerogative of thinking for others as 
well as for themselves. He settled at Newport, 
Rhode Island, in 1638, and very soon arose to promi- 
nence, being governor's assistant in 1640 and 1643, 
and from 1650 to 1652; and in 1654, he was presi- 
dent imder the first colonial charter, and governor 


of Rhode Island from 1672 to 1674. In speaking of 
him as governor of Rhode Island, the latter must 
not be confused with the Providence Plantations of 
Roger WiUiams, as Rhode Island in those days 
meant the Indian island of Aquidnick, the Rhode or 
Red Island of the English. 

Governor Easton died before the war was con- 
cluded, but not without having written down some 
facts which it is well to keep in mind in connection 
with the history of that period; and which so in- 
censed the Reverend Increase Mather that he tells 
us he hastened his work on accoimt of it, apparently 
fearing that the truth would not reflect any partic- 
ular credit upon the English at Plymouth; and so 
must be completely bm-ied in a mass of misrepre- 
sentation, cant and bigotry. Unfortimately for 
himself and his so-called history, he manifests so 
much spleen throughout the work that the careful 
reader sees in it, not the righteous indignation of 
one who is imjustly accused, but the boiling rage of 
the criminal who is caught with the goods in his 

Governor Easton's history contains some informa- 
tion concerning the complaints of the Indians as re- 
lated by themselves that throw such an interesting 
side hght upon the beginning of King Philip's war 
that I am constrained to quote from it at length, 
simply changing the quaint spelling and applying 
modern rules of punctuation, to make the whole 
more easily intelligible. He says: "But for foiu- 
years' time, reports and jealousies of war had been 
very frequent. Yet we did not think that now the 


war was breaking forth; but about a week before it 
did, we had cause to think it would. Then, to en- 
deavor to prevent it, we sent a man to Phihp that, 
if he would come to the ferry, we would come over 
to speak with him. About four miles we had to 
come; thither our messenger come to them; they, 
not aware of it, behaved themselves as furious, but 
suddenly appeased when they understood who he 
was and what he came for; he called his council and 
agreed to come to us; came himself unarmed and 
about forty of his men, armed. Then five of us 
went over; three were magistrates. We sat very 
friendly together. We told him our business, so to 
endeavor that they might not receive or do wrong. 
They said that was well; they had done no wrong, 
the EngUsh had wronged them. We said we knew 
the English said the Indians wronged them, and the 
Indians said the Enghsh wronged them, but our 
desire was the quarrel might rightly be decided in 
the best way, and not as dogs decided their quarrels. 
The Indians owned that fightmg was the worst way; 
they then propounded how right might take place. 
We said by arbitration. They said that all Enghsh 
agreed against them, and so by arbitration they had 
much wrong; many miles square of land was taken 
from them, for the Enghsh would have EngUsh 
arbitrators; and unless they were persuaded to 
give in their arms, that thereby jealousy might be 
removed; and the Enghsh, having their arms, 
would not deUver them as they had promised im- 
til they consented to pay one hundred pounds; and 
now they had not so much sum or money; they 


were as good be killed as leave all their livelihood. 
We said they might choose a Indian king, and the 
English naight choose the Governor of New York, 
that neither had case to say either were parties in 
the difference. They said they had not heard of 
that way and said we honestly spoke; so that we 
were persuaded, if that way had been tendered, they 
would have accepted. We did endeavor not to hear 
their complaints, said it was not convenient for us 
now to consider of, but to endeavor to prevent 
war. . . . We knew what their complaints would 
be; and, in our colony, had removed some of them 
in sending for Indian rulers in what the crime con- 
cerned Indians Uves, which they very lovingly ac- 
cepted, and agreed to their execution, and said so 
they were able to satisfy their subjects when they 
knew an Indian suffered duly; but said in what 
was only between their Indians, and not any town- 
ships that we purchased, they would not have us 
prosecute, and that they had a great fear to have 
any of their Indians should be called or forced to 
be Christian Indians. They said that such were in 
everything more mischievous, only dissemblers, and 
then the English made them insubject to their kings 
and by their lying wronged their king. We knew it 
to be true. . . . But Philip judged it to be dis- 
honesty in us to put off the hearing any just com- 
plaint; therefore we consented to hear them. They 
said they had been the first in doing good to the 
EngUsh and the EngHsh the first in doing wrong; 
said when the Enghsh first came, their king's father 
was as a great man and the English as a little child; 


he constrained other Indians from wronging the 
EngUsh, gave them corn and showed them how to 
plant; and was free to do them any good, and had 
let them have a hundred times more land then now 
the king had for his own people. But their king's 
brother, when he was king, came miserably to die, 
being forced to court, as they judged, poisoned. 
And another grievance was, if twenty of their 
honest Indians testified that an Englishman had 
done them wrong, it was as nothing; but if but one 
of their worst Indians testified against any Indian 
or their king, when it pleased the English, it was 

"Another grievance was when their kings sold 
land, the English would say it was more than they 
agreed to. And a writing must be proved against 
all them, and some of their kings had done wrong 
to sell so much. He loved his people not; and some 
being given to drunkenness, the English made them 
drunk and then cheated them in bargains; but no 
doubt their kings were forewarned not to part with 
their land for nothing, in comparison to the value 
thereof. Now, whom the English have owned for 
king or queen, they were disinherited, and make 
another king that would give or sell them these 
lands; that now they had no hopes left to keep any 

" Another grievance, the Enghsh cattle and horses 
still increased; that when they removed thirty 
miles from where the English had anything to do, 
they could not keep their corn from being spoiled, 
they never being used to fence; and that when 


the English bought land of them, they would have 
kept theu' cattle upon their own land. 

" Another grievance, the Enghsh were so eager to 
sell the Indians Kquors that most of the Indians 
spent in drunkenness and reneved [^probably reneged, 
in the sense of shifting the responsibility] upon the 
sober Indians, and they did beheve even did hurt 
the Enghsh cattle; but their king could not prevent 

" We knew that these were their grand complaints, 
but we only endeavored to persuade that aU com- 
plaints be righted without war; but come for no 
other answer but that they had not heard of that 
way, for the governor of York and an Indian king 
to have a hearing of it. We had case to think, if it 
had been tendered, it would have been accepted. 
We endeavored that, however, they should lay 
down the war, for the English were too strong for 
them; they said then the Enghsh should do to 
them as they did when they were too strong for the 
Enghsh. So we departed without any discourteous- 
ness, and suddenly had letter from Plymouth Gov- 
ernor, they intended in arms to conform Phihp, but 
no information what it was they required or what 
terms he refused to have their quarrel decided at, 
and in a week's time after we had been with the 
Indians, thus begun." He then proceeds to give 
an account of the first acts of hostilities, as related 
by all the historians of that date. 

The unrehabihty of Reverend Increase Mather's 
account of the war may perhaps be fairly judged 
by his reflection upon this simple statement of facts 


made by a man who had no occasion or incentive to 
tell anything but the truth, and who related only 
his own experiences; as well as by Mather's attempt 
to discredit another narrative of the war written as 
he says "by a merchant of Boston," and published 
in London, of which the reverend writer says, 
"abounding mistakes therein caused me to think it 
necessary that a true history of this affair should 
be pubUshed." Continuing he says, "Whilst I was 
doing this, there came to my hands another narra- 
tive of this war written by a Quaker in Road Island, 
who pretends to know the truth of things, but that 
narrative being fraught with worst things than meer 
mistakes, I was thereby quickened to expedite what 
I had in hand." This imdoubtedly refers to Eas- 
ton's history, as no other narrative written by a 
Quaker ill Rhode Island is known to exist. 

Disregarding Chm-ch's apparent egotism, which 
really is not sufficient cause for doubting the truth- 
fulness of his narrative, except perhaps, those por- 
tions of it which refer to his own exploits, writers 
of later date have drawn largely upon his record of 
events for their facts concerning the occurrences of 
the war, and, in a large measure, for information 
about the Indian chiefs who participated in it; and 
for the purposes of 'this work, I will follow their 
example, first calling attention to the fact that I do 
not propose to give even a r&iun6 of the history of 
the war; but rather to confine myself to a brief 
consideration of the causes which led up to it, and 
to references to some of the men who joined with 
Philip in an attempt to shake off the shackles which 


the English had been systematically fastening upon 
them almost from the moment of the first interview 
between Massasoit and Governor Carver at Plym- 

I have said that Major Winslow's forcible arrest 
of Wamsutta at Munponset Pond was the beginning 
of King Phihp's war, and in a sense this is true, for, 
while the grievances which he and his coxmsellors 
enimierated to Governor Easton, and the acts of the 
English of which they then complained, had ex- 
tended over a long period, this was the first open 
act of hostility. 

Wamsutta had never subjected himself or his 
people to the authority of the colonists, and was not 
under their jurisdiction. He was an independent 
ruler, bound, it is true, by the obhgations of what- 
ever treaties he had entered into with the whites, as 
well as those entered into by his predecessor in behalf 
of his people, and answerable for violations of those 
obhgations, as one people or nation is answerable 
to another under similar circumstances; but the 
Plymouth authorities had no more right, either 
legal or moral, to send an armed force into his terri- 
tory to arrest him at the point of a pistol, than the 
duly constituted authorities of the United States 
would have to send an army into Mexico to arrest 
its president and bring him to Washington to ren- 
der an account of alleged acts in violation of some 
agreement between the two coimtries. Such an act 
would be an act of war in the latter case, and it 
was an act of war in Wamsutta's case. 

If the EngUsh chose to look upon his alleged con- 


duct as a cause of war, and took this course of 
commencing hostilities "without denouncing any 
war," as Bradford complains that Miantonomo had 
done in his invasion of the Mohican territory 
eighteen years before, they have no reason to criti- 
cize the Indiana for treating it as an act of open 
hostiUty. They had no definite evidence of any 
wrongdoing on the part of Wamsutta. Suspicions 
there were, and suspicions there had been from the 
very beginning; but they had usually turned out 
to be the product of the imagination or the out- 
growth of the machinations of some wily chief to 
cast suspicion upon some rival whom he feared, and 
for whose overthrow he wished to enlist the assist- 
ance of the whites. 

There were rumors that Wamsutta was trying to 
stir up trouble, to organize a general uprising. 
Where the rumors came from no one knows, but 
Wamsutta is said to have attributed it to some of 
the Narragansetts when Captain Willett went to 
Mount Hope to investigate; yet when the day 
arrived on which he was to attend Court at 
Plymouth, he was visiting in the Narragansett 
country. If any of the chiefs of that tribe were 
endeavoring to injure him in the eyes of the whites, 
he evidently still retained the friendship of some of 
them. The expression ' ' stir up trouble and organize 
a general uprising" is capable of so many construc- 
tions, that we are left in the dark as to what he was 
suspected of doing. It is a sort of blanket indict- 
ment calculated to cover almost anything that the 
English might consider inimical to their interests. 


If he went over to the Narragansett country to 
confer with the sachems of that federation concern- 
ing the encroachments of the English, to talk about 
his grievances, to discuss, in a perfectly proper man- 
ner, some method of securing concerted action in 
peaceably resisting fiirther encroachments, it would 
be a stirring up of trouble, the organizing of a 
general uprising, even though there was no thought 
of war, because it might cause some trouble to the 
English in their land grabbing schemes. Besides, 
there is not a scrap of evidence produced to show 
that Wamsutta did even any of these things. 

The whole story was probably without founda- 
tion; for had any such attempt been made, his 
counsellors would have known of it; and, being 
privy to it, and in close touch with his negotiations 
and arrangements, his arrest and death under such 
circimistances as surrounded them, circumstances 
that led his people to beheve that he had been 
poisoned, as they claimed thirteen years later, was 
all that was needed to kindle the spark he is charged 
with having laid, into flame. 

Notwithstanding this attack upon the person of 
his brother and upon the sovereignty of his people, 
Pometacom, or King Philip, seems at first to have 
been desirous of continuing the friendly relations 
with the whites that had marked the forty years of 
his father's reign after the signing of the treaty 
with Governor Carver. Within a very few months 
of his succession to the great chieftaincy, he re- 
newed the covenant which Massasoit had made 
with the colonists; and in the winter of 1663-64 


he sent to John Eliot for "books to learn to read 
and to pray unto God." What an opportunity was 
thus presented to the EngUsh to perpetuate the 
bonds of friendship that had existed between them 
and the Wampanoags from the beginning! Oh, for 
the hand of a Roger Williams or the Quaker Gov- 
ernor of Rhode Island at the helm for an hour at 
that time! The history of King Philip's war would 
never have been written if the Massachusetts 
colonies had adopted the Rhode Island and Provi- 
dence method of dealing with the natives. 

Many causes have been assigned for the outbreak 
that finally came, of which the one most frequently 
mentioned is the land question; and while it is un- 
doubtedly true that the natives saw with alarm 
their forests cut down, their himting groimds given 
over to the plow and to the pasturage of roviag 
herds of cattle, and themselves constantly restricted 
to narrower and narrower limits, this was only one 
of the many causes as fully appears from the com- 
plaint which Philip presented to Governor Easton. 
The colonists say they never took an acre of the 
Indians' land except by purchase, and if taking 
advantage of the Indians' simpUcity and lack of ap- 
preciation of the effect of their acts to secure a 
township for a red coat, a county for thirty-five 
poimds, can be dignified with the name of purchase, 
their claim isi well founded. At the prices they 
paid, the five himdred and forty poimds received 
by Himt for the twenty-seven natives carried away 
from Plymouth in 1614 would have purchased the 
whole of Massachusetts. The Indians had been 


crowded to the limit. Their sachems had improvi- 
dently parted with the land which was a necessity 
to the continued existence of their people, and 
there had resulted disputes as to what was sold, 
and "a writing must be proved against all them," a 
paper prepared by whom? and understood by whom? 
Not satisfied with thus driving sharp and imscru- 
pulous bargains imtU only a small portion of the 
land where they had formerly roamed and htmted at 
will remained to the Indians, the whites, still covet- 
ing the few acres that were left to them, continued 
their acts of depredation until, goaded to despera- 
tion, with justice denied him, with his sovereign 
rights invaded, with no alternative left to him but 
to die a death of slow starvation, or the glorious 
death of a warrior fighting for his home and patri- 
mony, the red man chose the latter. 

The land difiiciilties undoubtedly first arose over 
the difference between the Enghsh and the Indian 
teniures. Individual allotments and individual 
ownership was an estabhshed principle of the 
Enghsh law, and while the colonists, after a while, 
forbade the purchase of land by individual whites 
from the Indians, except with the consent of the 
authorities, this did not stop the abuses that had 
arisen, for it does not appear that they ever vetoed 
a sharp bargain driven by one of their people with 
an Indian chief. Opposed to this idea of private 
ownership was the Indian tenure by which the title 
to the land was in the tribe, and the right to its use 
was a common right, as indeed the fruits of the soil 
and the spoils of the hunt were the common property 


of all, except that the hunter was allowed the skins 
of the animals killed by himself so far as the same 
were necessary to the embeUishment and comfort of 
his wigwam and the clothing of himself and his family. 

With this commmiistic idea thoroughly estab- 
lished in the Indian customs and laws, it is not sur- 
prising that they should have thought that their 
deeds were simply grants of rights to occupy in 
common with themselves; and they discovered the 
full import of their act only when the purchasers 
took steps to dispossess them entirely; and it was 
thus that the natives said the English claimed more 
than they had granted and "there must be a writ- 
ing," and when disputes arose "the Enghsh would 
have an English arbitrator," and the decision was, 
of course, always against the Indian. 

The course pursued by the English in their deal- 
ings with the natives, coupled with the lack of skill 
in driving bargains on the part of the latter, who 
were induced in some way to put their marks to 
papers the true import of which they no more 
understood than they did the mystery of their 
existence and the wonders of nature, for a bauble 
which was soon gone, was gradually reducing them 
to a virtual state of vassalage to the men whom 
they had welcomed, and with whom they were 
willing to share their possessions, but who were not 
satisfied to share, and seized upon every oppor- 
tunity to grasp the whole. In fact, their treatment 
of Wamsutta is evidence that the English had al- 
ready assimied the authority to look upon them as 


When a proud and independent people awake to 
the fact that this is their fate, but two courses are 
open to them, either complete submission by active 
consent or by silent acquiescence; or armed resist- 
ance. The Mohicans, Pequots and Niantics chose 
submission by active consent, the other Connecti- 
cut Indians, except the Podunks and a few Nip- 
mucks, submission by tacit non-resistance; and the 
Wampanoags, the Narragansetts, the Podunks and 
most of the Nipmucks in Massachusetts and the 
few mentioned in Connecticut, chose armed resist- 
ance; and all met the same fate. The resisting 
warriors merely hastened theirs, preferring the death 
of warriors amid the shouts of battle in the deadly 
breach, to the death by slow starvation with their 
hvehhood gone, or the hving death of vassalage. 
Annihilation was the doom that was written for 
them in every scrap of paper to which they put 
their marks. Native simpHcity, relying upon the 
native code of honor and native customs, could not 
stand before European greed. What seemed to 
Massasoit and to others following in his footsteps 
to be the path of wisdom, viewed in the Mght he 
possessed, turned out to be the path of destruction 
for his people. The burning embers from the 
peace pipe he extended to the first settlers kindled 
into a flame that enveloped and wiped out his race. 

So while the act of Major Winslow was the first 
overt act in the great war, the causes that led up 
to it had existed for a long time, reaching back at 
least to the imjustified mm-der of Miantonomo in 
1643, an act which was undoubtedly an important 


factor in deciding the course of the Narragansetts; 
but while the acts of which the Indians complained 
had continued over a long period, it apparently 
took the simple natives a long time to grasp their 
full import, and still Phihp was willing to continue 
the chain of friendship until he became convinced, 
by fresh encroachments and continued acts of ag- 
gression and abuse, that the two races with their 
different customs of hving and different codes of 
honor could not coexist on the same soil. Then 
resulted the war of extermination for one or the 

That this war was not necessary we now know; 
that all that was required to prevent it was fair play 
and simple justice on the part of the whites, no one 
who reads the history of those times without pas- 
sion or prejudice wiU attempt to gainsay. The 
issue of the war resulted in the establishment of the 
ideals of government and the freedom we cherish, 
but the same results might have been secmred with- 
out the stain upon the white man's escutcheon that 
time can never efface. 

In justice to the colonial authorities it ought to 
be said that not all the acts complained of should 
be laid directly at their doors; but while xm- 
doubtedly many of them were conunitted without 
authority, and not in pursuit of any general policy, 
the commissioners and magistrates cannot fully es- 
cape the responsibility for them, because when 
offences agarast the Indians were called to their 
attention they did nothing to correct the abuses. 
That they had no confidence in some of their own 


people in their dealings with the natives is clearly 
shown by a letter written to Governor Bradford by 
Robert Cushman as early as 1623, in which the 
writer says: "In the mean space know these things, 
and I pray you be advised a little. Mr, Weston 
hath quite broken off from our company through 
some discontents that arose betwixt him and some 
of our adventurers, and hath sould all his adven- 
tures, and hath now sent three smale ships for his 
particular plantation. The greatest whereof being 
100 tun. Mr. Reynolds goeth and he with the 
rest purposeth to come himselfe, for what end I 
know not. 

"The people which they cary are no men for us, 
wherefore I pray you entertains them not, neither 
exchange man for man with them excepte it be some 
of your worst. He hath taken a patent for himselfe. 
If they offer to buy anything of you let it be such 
as you can spare, and let them give the worth of it. 
If they borrow anything leave a good pawne. , . . 
I fear these people will not deal so well with the 
savages as they should. I pray you therefore sig- 
nifie to Squanto, that they are a distinct body from 
us, and we have nothing to doe with them, neither 
can we be blamed for their faults, much less can 
we warrante their fidelity." 

This was the same Weston who in 1622 had estab- 
lished a small colony at Wessagusset, where he had 
dealt BO unfairly with the Indians of the Massa- 
chusetts federation that they had planned the up- 
rising of which Massasoit apprised Winslow in 
March, 1623, and in which they had secured the 


cooperation of several tribes of the Wampanoag 
federation, and interested some one of Massasoit's 
sub-sachems to the extent that he had endeavored 
to secure his Great Sachem's consent to active par- 
ticipation in the uprising. It was Weston's con- 
duct on this occasion which was responsible for the 
contemplated attack upon both Wessagusset and 
Pljonouth, the natives not discriminating between 
them, but, aroused by Weston's outrages, resolved 
to wipe out the entire white race in New England; 
and it is characteristic of the methods employed by 
the colonists to settle such difficulties that they sent 
Captain Standish to punish the Indians who were 
concerned in the revolt, which he did; but did noth- 
ing to prevent a repetition of the depredations of 
Weston who had precipitated the trouble. 

It was unquestionably the unscrupulous dealings 
of men like these, covering nearly half a century, 
that led to many of the complaints; but if the au- 
thorities had shown half the zeal in preventing 
their acts and pimishing the offenders that they did 
in correcting abuses on the part of the Indians, the 
grievances could easily have been adjusted. 

WhUe Philip was under suspicion immediately 
after Wamsutta's death, it is doubtful whether the 
authorities had any foundation for the suspicion 
outside of their own knowledge of wrongdoing on 
their part and a belief that Philip might avenge 
the wrongs to his brother and his people. It looks 
like a case of troubled conscience, resembUng that 
of the small boy who has been guilty of some infrac- 
tion of parental discipline, and, being out alone 


after dark, sees lurking in every shadow some fear- 
ful agency for the punishment of his misdeeds. 

Morton tells us "Metacom made his appearance 
at the court held at Plymouth, August 6th (1662), 
did earnestly desire the continuance of that amity 
and friendship that hath formerly been between the 
governor of Plymouth and his deceased father and 
brother." The court thereupon presented articles 
of agreement which he and his imcle Vucumpowet 
(Akkompoin) signed. 

From that time imtil 1671, Philip made many 
concessions by way of land grants that are inex- 
phcable on any other theory than that he was 
willing to pay any price for peace. He sold parts 
of Swansea in 1668 and 1669, and all this time he 
and his people were complaining of their restricted 
areas. Enough is known of his character to lead to 
the conclusion that these sales were virtually forced 
by fear of further acts of vindictive depredation and 
injustice which he had learned to appreciate as the 
Englishman's method of securing what he desired, 
or in the belief that the insatiable greed of the 
English for land might be finally appeased with- 
out crowding his own people completely off the 

In 1671 there were further misimderstandings 
which were adjusted, but from that time on, Philip 
was constantly under a cloud of suspicion. About 
this same time, there were rumors of dissatisfaction 
among the Narragansetts, the young sachems being 
said to favor war, but the older ones counseling 
peace, though the commissioners seemed to think 


that the latter were dissembhng, and really favored 
the resort to arms. If Philip was actually engaged 
in an attempt to arouse the Indians to open revolt 
at that time, he so adroitly baffled their efforts to 
secure evidence against him that some historians 
say there isn't a particle of evidence that he ever 
actually engaged the cooperation of any other 

Matters ran along in this way until the winter of 
1674, when John Sassamon, a Massachusetts In- 
dian, who had been educated at Harvard and was 
an itinerant preacher among the Indians, revealed 
Philip's plottings to the Plymouth authorities. He 
had been employed by Philip as a secretary, and in 
this way claimed to have secured his information. 
Knowledge of Sassamon's perfidy reached Philip in 
some way, and Sassamon suddenly disappeared, and 
some time later his body was found under the ice in 
Assawamsett Pond, with the neck broken and other 
indications of foul play. Three Indians came under 
suspicion and they were arrested and indicted by the 
grand jury. They were subsequently tried by a 
jury, and five Indians were called in to hear the evi- 
dence against them; and these five concurred in the 
verdict. The three were hanged, two of them pro- 
testing their innocence. Phihp had been siumnoned 
to Plymouth to testify to his connection with the 
taking off of Sassamon, but did not appear, whether 
from fear of the consequences or in defiance of the 
colonists' attempts to subject him, to their au- 
thority, we can only conjecture. In any event, the 
series of depredations that led directly to the war 


began immediately after the execution of the men 
who were charged with the death of Sassamon. 

In connection with the trial of these men one is 
constrained to inquire under what authority the 
EngUsh assumed jurisdiction of this matter. There 
is no evidence that Sassamon was subject to them 
or under their special protection by reason of any 
treaty or agreement. The three men whom they 
tried for his murder were Indians, and, if they be- 
longed in the vicinity where the crime was com- 
mitted, were subjects of the sachem Tuspaquin, and 
the offence was against the laws of the territory of 
that chief. It was by such acts as this, the utter 
ignoring of the rights of the natives to deal with 
offenders among their own people against men who 
were not subject to the EngUsh, and on their own 
territory, that the colonists goaded the Indians to 

Philip's men Umited their depredations to the 
killing of the cattle and hogs of the English and 
carrying away their property, the pm-pose ap- 
parently being to drive the colonists to the first acts 
of violence against the person; and this soon re- 
sulted, an Indian being shot and wounded in Swan- 
sea, while committing some act of depredation; and 
thus the war begim. 

July 4, 1675, Captains Moseley and Page, who 
were pursuing Philip, received orders to go over 
into the Narragansett country and secure a treaty 
with the sachems there; and, as a result, they did 
succeed in getting a pledge of assistance, signed by 
"Agamand, Wampsh, alias Gorman, Taitson and 


Tawagason, counsellors and attorneys to Canonicus 
fPessacusX Ninigret, Matababug, old Quen Quain- 
pen, Quananshet QCanonchet] and Pomham, the six 
present sachems of the whole Narragansett country." 
It is significant that not one of the sachems purports 
to have signed in person; nor is there any evidence 
that they were present, or that the signatories 
actually had any authority to sign for them. 

About this time, commissioners also attempted to 
treat with the Nipmucks between the Merrimao and 
the Connecticut Rivers, but found the young men 
"surly and insolent," although the old men "showed 
an inclination for peace." These Nipmucks, the 
Podunks, who are said to have fmrnished two hun- 
dred warriors, the Nashuas, all the Narragansett 
sachems except Ninigret, who was really a Niantic, 
and the Wampanoags, constituted Philip's force, the 
Narragansetts coming in late in the fall of 1675. 
It is claimed by some writers that they were under 
an agreement with Phihp to furnish four thousand 
warriors for an uprising in the spring of 1676, but 
the death of Sassamon and the execution of his 
alleged murderers hastened the breaking out of 
hostihties to such an extent that they did not par- 
ticipate for some months. 

From the spring of 1675 until the final overthrow 
of Philip's forces, no place could feel that it was 
safe from attack. The towns of Central Massa- 
chusetts suffered most severely, the Narragansetts 
and Wampanoags sweeping up from their territory 
and joining the Nipmucks and Nashuas in the 


The Indians suffered their first serious defeat in 
the swamp fight at East Kingston, Rhode Island, 
December 19, 1675, where three himdred warriors 
were killed, according to information given by an 
old squaw who escaped the conflagration caused by 
the English setting fire to the wigwams, burning 
women and children. It was at Lancaster on Feb- 
ruary 10, 1676, that Mary Rowlandson, the minis- 
ter's wife, and her children were taken in an attack 
upon that town by the Wampanoags under PhUip, 
Narragansetts under Quinapen and the Nashuas 
and Nipmucks led by Sagamore Sam and one-eyed 
John of the Marlborough "praying Indians." She 
remained a captive for some time, living in the wig- 
wam of Weetamo, who was then one of the squaws 
of Quinapen; and on one occasion dining with 
PhiUp, as she relates in her narrative of her experi- 

Meeting with various reverses, and losing some of 
their leaders, the Wampanoags and Narragansetts 
were finally driven into the swamps around Moimt 
Hope in July, 1676. Here the "Old Queen" was 
slain in that month. It is said that the losses of 
Philip and his alUes amounted to three thousand 
warriors at that time, but he made another attempt 
to tm-n the tide. On July 30, Governor Winslow 
received word at Marshfield that a strong force was 
on the march against Taunton or Bridgewater. He 
hastened to Plymouth, and sununoned Captain 
Church, directing him to rally his forces at once. 
By this time Phihp, apparently seeing the futiUty 
of proceeding further, was withdrawing his men. 


It was on this retreat, while crossing the river at 
Taunton on a tree which the Indians had felled to 
form a bridge, that Akkompoin, the younger brother 
of Massasoit, was slain with several of his men; and 
Philip himself came very near meeting the same 
fate, according to Captain Church, who says that 
on the morning following Akkompoin's death, he 
saw an Indian sitting on a log and raised his rifle 
to fire, when one of his Indians called out that it 
was a friend, upon which he lowered his gun; and 
the Indian looked at them and fled. It afterwards 
turned out to be Phflip himself. 

Early in August an Indian reported that Philip 
was at Mount Hope and Chtu-ch went after him. 
They came upon him by surprise, and Church aimed 
at him but his gun missed fire, whereupon he ordered 
a Seaconnet Indian who was with him to shoot him 
down. He obeyed, and Philip fell on August 12, 
1676, shot through the heart by one of his own 
people named by the EngUsh, John Alderman. 

His force was by this time completely shattered, 
many of his sachems having fallen and others hav- 
ing come in on promises of clemency only to learn 
that clemency meant either death or slavery as best 
suited the English. Some of the Nipmucks fled to 
the west, where they were undoubtedly absorbed by 
other tribes; and it is said that a remnant of the 
Wampanoags escaped into Maine where they be- 
came merged with the Penobscots. 

After Philip's death Church declared that inas- 
much as he had caused many Englishmen to remain 
unbiuied, no part of him should have burial. An 


Indian was summoned who was directed to cut off 
the head and quarter the body. The head was sent 
to Plymouth where it was exposed upon a pole for 
more than a score of years. His hands were sent 
to Boston, and his quartered body was himg up in 
the trees where he fell. Church and his men re- 
turned to Plymouth "and received their premium, 
which was thirty shillings per head for the enemies 
which they had kiUed or taken, instead of wages. 
Philip's head went at the same price," according to 
Captain Church. 

The Plymouth clergy celebrated his death with 
the same blasphemous utterances in which they 
were wont to give vent to their spleen upon such 
occasions. The Rev. Increase Mather says: "There 
was he, like as Agag was hewed in pieces before the 
Lord, cut into four quarters, and is now himg up 
as a monument of revenging justice, his head being 
cut off and carried to Plymouth. So let all thine 
enemies perish, O Lord! Thus did God break the 
head of that Leviathan and give it to be meat of 
the people inheriting the wilderness." 

The authorities at Plymouth had appointed a 
day of thanksgiving for their success. Philip's head 
reached the town that day. Rev. Cotton Mather 
says, " God sent 'em in the head of a Leviathan for 
a thanksgiving feast." 

So perished the last of the Great Chiefs of New 
England to make a stand against the encroach- 
ments of the deadly enemies of his people. Of his 
character much has been written, and the net result 
of it all is that we know almost nothing concerning 


it. Church says he was always the first in flight, 
but then proceeds to give the he to the statement 
by saying he was seen sitting on a log at Taunton 
River the morning after his imcle and some of his 
men were killed. Some writers claim that he pos- 
sessed no particular skill as an organizer, and 
lacked the native eloquence with which some of the 
children of the forest roused their followers to 
frenzy; while others rank him as a person of great 
powers of body and mind, capable of stirring men 
to action and not hesitating to risk his own life in 
leading his men against the foe. The reader is at 
liberty to take his choice; but it may not be amiss 
to suggest that such a revolt as he is credited in his- 
tory with having led does not arise spontaneously, 
nor can it be aroused by a man lackiag in personal 
magnetism, persuasive oratory and physical prowess. 
Was he a blood-thirsty savage bent on destruction 
of the whites without cause; or was he a true 
patriot contending for all that life holds dear, and 
sacrificing his own life to the ideals of his race, 
freedom, home and the defence of his fatherland? 
Undoubtedly most men who have read history have 
already drawn their conclusions, and no word of 
mine is likely to cause them to change their minds; 
but before consigning his name to eternal infamy, 
let us look careftilly to the conditions surroimding 
him, to the grievances of his people, and then let us 
ask ourselves what we would have done had we 
been in his pkce. What have men of all races and 
of all time done under similar circumstances? and 
what appraisal do we place upon their character? 


Is there any reason why we should not place Philip 
of Pokanoket in the class with other men who 
have made the supreme sacrifice for the mainte- 
nance of the same ideals? 

PhiUp married Wootonekanuske, a sister of Wee- 
tamo, and beUeved to be a daughter of Corbitant 
of the Pocassets, one of the branches of the Wam- 
panoag federation; and, so far as history records, 
she was his only wife, for while polygamy seems to 
have been practiced among the Narragansetts in 
some instances, Quinapen being ^aid by Mrs. Row- 
landson to have had three squaws, there is nothing 
of record to lead to any inference that either Massa- 
soit, Wamsutta or Philip had more than one wife, 
or that polygamy was ever practiced among the 
Wampanoags. By her he had two children, one of 
whom died in infancy, and the other, a young boy 
at the time of his father's death, was sold with his 
mother into slavery. The clergy were appealed to 
by the authorities for their opinion as to what 
should be done with him, and these followers of 
Him who said, "Suffer little children to come imto 
me," were in favor of mvudering the child; but the 
authorities for some reason reserved him for a 
worse fate and so the grandson of the man who 
had made their position secure ended his life a slave. 

PuMHAM is janked second to Philip in ability 
among the leaders of the natives in the uprising. 
His name appears as one of the six sachems of the 
Narragansett coimtry in the treaty which Captains 
Moseley and Page secured from the coimsellors in 
July, 1675. He is spoken of as sachem of Showa- 


met, now Warwick, Ehode Island. In July, 1676, he 
led an invasion into the territory around Medfield 
and Dedham, Massachusetts, and on the twenty- 
fifth of that month, fifty of his band were captured; 
but he refused to surrender and was shot. 

QuiNAPEN was a nephew of Miantonomo. After 
Weetamo left her fourth husband . because of his 
adherence to the Enghsh, Quinapen, though much 
yoimger than she, took her as the third of his squaws. 
He was an active participant with his warriors ia 
the various raids by the Narragansetts and is 
known to have led them in the attack on Lancaster 
in February, 1676. After his capture in August of 
that year, he told his captors that he had been 
second in command at the swamp fight at East 
Kingston. He was shot at Newport soon after his 

Canonchet, a son of Miantonomo, is referred to 
as the Chief Sachem of the Narragansetts. He is 
said to have entered the war with two thousand 
warriors. Whether this is intended to include the 
entire strength of the Narragansetts, all of them 
being in a sense, under his command, or only his 
own immediate followers is uncertain. Early in the 
spring of 1676, he and Kiag Phihp swept aroimd 
Seekonk, Massachusetts, with fifteen hundred war- 
riors, and there were six or seven hundred around 
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, at the same time; but 
this really throws no light upon the question, be- 
cause we do not know how many of these were 
Wampanoags. Canonchet was in command at the 
swamp fight, with his cousin Quinapen second. 


In the raid around Seekonk and Pawtucket in 
the spring of 1676, he was crossing the Blackstone 
River, when his foot slipped, throwing him into the 
water and wetting his gun so that it became useless. 
This misfortune so disheartened him for the mo- 
ment that he was easily overtaken by a swift-footed 
Pequot, who was with a pm-suing party of whites 
and Indians. After his capture, the first English- 
man to approach him presented a very youthful 
appearance. When this young man attempted to 
interrogate him, he replied, "You much chUd. No 
imderstand matters of war. Let your brother or 
yotu" chief come. Him I will answer." His cap- 
ture occurred on March 27th; and he was taken to 
Stonington, Connecticut, where, after the mockery 
of a trial, he was first offered his life if he ■would 
become an ally of the English. This he steadfastly 
refused, and when reminded of "his boast that he 
would not deliver up so much as a paring of a Wam- 
panoag nail when called upon by the English to 
give up their enemies, and hia threat that he would 
bum them ahve in their houses," his corn-age re- 
mained unshaken; and when told that his sentence 
was death, he stoically replied that it pleased him 
well that he should die before his heart was soft and 
he had said anything unworthy of himself. " This," 
says the devout Hubbard, "was the confusion of a 
damned wretch that had often opened his mouth 
to blaspheme the name of the living God and those 
that make profession thereof," to which he might 
have truthfully added, but whose practices did not 
square with their professions; and who worshipped 


the "living God" with their lips, but blasphemed 
His name by their every act. 

The sentence of the com-t was carried out in the 
manner described by Hubbard in the following 
words: "And that all might share in the glory of 
destroying so great a prince and come under the 
obhgation of fidelity to each other, the Pequots shot 
him, the Mohicans cut off his head and quartered 
his body, and the Ninnicrafts (a name apparently 
sometimes apphed to the Niantics) made the fire 
and burned his quarters, and as a token of their love 
and fidehty to the English, presented his head to 
the counsel of Hartford." 

Whether the Pequot traitor to his native land 
and his people received the thirty pieces of silver 
for his head, or whether the Connecticut troops and 
their allies were paid in some other way, we are not 
told. He fell a victim to the same methods of deal- 
ing with the natives that had marked the end of his 
father, Miantonomo, and at the hands of the same 
cruel enemies of his nation, acting as the agents of 
the real enemies of them all, who simply used the 
Mohicans as their catspaws until such time as it 
should suit their purpose to destroy them by insidi- 
ous acts of oppression worse than war. These two 
men stand, in unbiased history, with PhiUp, as 
leaders of their race, who earnestly desired an honor- 
able peace with the whites; and who labored to se- 
ciu-e it with the blessings of a higher civiUzation for 
their people; but who were swallowed up in the 
maelstrom of English land covetousness, suspicion 
and trickery. 


TusPAQum has already been referred to as the 
sachem of the Assawamsetts and probably of the 
Nemaskets, the two tribes occupymg the territory 
now included in the towns of Lakeville and Middle- 
borough, and parts of Freetown (East), Rochester, 
and Acushnet. He is commonly referred to as the 
"Black Sachem." He married Amie, daughter of 
Massasoit, and had two sons, William and Benja- 
min. At the outbreak of the war, he joined with 
his brother-in-law Philip in his attempt to redress 
by force of arms the grievances of his people, suf- 
fered at the hands of the English. WiUiam is said 
to have followed his father, and to have lost his 
life early in the war, no mention of him appearing 
after the spring of 1675. 

Early in July, 1676, the authorities issued a gen- 
eral proclamation offering clemency to such of their 
enemies as should come in and give themselves up. 
Tuspaquin, still adhering to PhiHp, did not avail 
himself of this offer; and after the death of Philip, 
Captain Benjamin Church went looking for him. 
Church went to Rochester, but was told that he 
had gone away to the southward; whereupon he 
took Tuspaquin's wife and children and returned 
with them to Plymouth, leaving two squaws to tell 
him what had become of his family and that he 
would spare all their lives and his too, if he would 
come down to them and bring the other two that 
were with him. Church informs us that he was 
acting upon a commission from Plymouth which 
authorized him "to receive to mercy, give quarter 
or not, excepting some particular and noted mur- 


derers, viz. : Philip and all that were at the destroy- 
ing of Mr. Clarke's garrison and some few others." 
Tuspaquin does not come within either of these 
classes unless it is "some few others"; and the 
question naturally arises, if he was in that class, why 
did Church promise to spare his life and the lives 
of the two others who were with him? 

Tuspaquin came in with the two others, and the 
authorities, taking advantage of Church's absence 
on business in Boston, executed both Tuspaquin and 
Annawon to whom Chm^ch had given his word that 
he would intercede in his behalf. This promise he 
faithfully kept, and it was no fault of his that those 
in authority broke their promises made through him 
to Tuspaquin. Attention should here be called to 
the fact that some inducement had been held out 
to bim beyond the mere promise of clemency, for 
we are told that he bad "hopes of being made a 
captain under Church," but when the authorities 
at Plymouth decided upon his execution in Church's 
absence, they claimed that "the promise of a cap- 
tain's place depended upon his being impenetrable 
by bullets, a claim that the Indians had made for 
him." So in order to put him to the test they con- 
fronted him with a firing squad with the result that 
we would expect; but which their pious historians 
exploit with great gusto, probably meaning to infer 
that he was not executed, but was merely being 
tried out to determine whether he met with the 
requirements for a captaincy. They conclude with 
a statement that he was foimd to be penetrable by 
the English guns, for he fell down at the first shot 


and thereby received the "just reward for his 
wickedness." Was he shot as a "reward for his 
wickedness," or to test the question of his impene- 
trability? If there is any one thing for which the 
early writers were more noted than for another, it 
is not consistency. That this claim was merely a 
subterfuge under which the English sought to cloak 
their perfidy must be perfectly apparent to the 
discerning reader. 

Annawon, the last of PhiKp's great captains, is 
spoken of by Schoolcraft as an imcle of Philip, but 
I find nothing in the writings of historians of the 
early period to warrant the belief that he was in 
any way related to the royal family of the Poka- 
nokets, and in boasting of his prowess after his cap- 
ture, he speaks of Massasoit simply as Philip's 
father. This is not by any means conclusive, how- 
ever, as we have no knowledge of Massasoit's wife, 
and Annawon may well have been her brother. 
If there is anything in the early history to establish 
this fact or to lead to any inference that it is a fact, 
I have not found it. There is no doubt that he was 
one of Massasoit's counsellors and "men of valor," 
and he may have been related to him by blood or 

At the fight in the swamp below Moimt Hope, 
immediately following Philip's death, the English 
plainly heard some one shouting, "lootash! lootash!" 
("Stand firm! Stand firm!") On inquiry of some 
of their Indian allies, the English were told that this 
was Old Annawon, Philip'a captain. With the 
faithful few of the Wampanoags who refused to 


take advantage of the English offers of clemency or 
of the opportunities for flight to distant lands, Anna- 
won made his way into Rehoboth, Massachusetts, 
where they constructed a rude shelter by felling 
trees against the perpendicular side of a ledge that 
extends a distance of about seventy-five feet, at a 
height of about twenty-five feet in its highest place, 
a short distance from the highway running from 
Tatmton to Providence. Some of his men who 
were out on a foraging party were discovered and 
followed by Captain Chxirch, who recites in detail 
the manner of his capture. He tells of lowering him- 
self down from the top of the rock to the level of the 
camp by clinging to the branches of the trees; but 
as the distance from the top of the rock to the level 
of the shelter is only about six feet at that place, 
and easily traversed, this looks hke some of Church's 
exploitation of his personal prowess. The ledge 
where he was captured has ever since been known 
as "Annawon's Rock." After his surprise and 
capture, while Chm-ch and Annawon were lying 
side by side to rest for the night, the latter sud- 
denly arose and walked away. Church not molesting 
him. After some time, he returned and laid down 
a quantity of wampiun and Philip's personal be- 
longings, saying they had been his king's, but as 
they had killed the king, he supposed they belonged 
to the English. 

If there was any foundation for Annawon's claim 
that he had been a mighty warrior and had per- 
formed deeds of valor "when serving under Philip's 
father," it is apparent that he must have been an 


old man at that time. Massasoit was not engaged 
in any wars that called for heroic exploits after 
1620, and probably none after the decimation of his 
tribe by the plague in 1616 or 1617, unless it was 
the war with the Narragansetts which resulted in 
the loss to them of Aquidnick. Indian youths were 
not trained for war until they were eighteen, and 
so Annawon must have been born around 1600 or 
before. At any rate he was old enough not to be a 
menace to the whites with all his warriors gone, and 
the only explanation of his execution is in the words 
used by the Enghsh in their characterization of the 
Indians. Cruel, blood-thirsty vindictiveness is the 
only answer to the question. Why did they refuse to 
Usten to the plea of Church for leniency, and shoot 
this old man who was on the verge of the grave? 
What became of the small band that was captured 
with him including his son, we are not told, but 
from what we know of the colonists' methods, it is 
not difficult for us to see them in fancy wearing out 
their lives and fretting away their freeborn spirits 
imder the slave drivers' lash in the West Indies. 

The "lootash" of old Annawon still rings in our 
ears as the last defiant cry of a people who dreamed 
of a life of peace and harmony with the strangers 
from across the great waters; but who, after half a 
century of devotion to the work of bringing about 
the realization of their dream, were rudely awakened 
to the futility of attempting to reconcile the different 
ideals, different manners of living, different customs, 
different codes of honor and different stages of prog- 
ress of the two races; and to the fact that the 


attempt was bound to result in virtual vassalage 
for the less advanced. 

I speak of different ideals; but, while it is true 
that the two races were widely separated in many 
respects, a careful analysis of the cause for which 
the red men fought shows that they made the su- 
preme sacrifice for much the same ideals that actu- 
ated the whites in their struggles for freedom. 
They were contending for liberty, justice and equal- 
ity, the liberty they enjoyed before the white man 
came, justice at the hands of the men whose enter- 
prise they had aided, in their dealings with them, 
and equality with the colonists in the enjoyment of 
that liberty and the administration of that justice. 

And so the "lootash" of Annawon was nothing 
more nor less than an appeal to his handful of fol- 
lowers to stand firm for the ideals which we are 
accustomed to call "American," and which are 
American in a broader sense than we apply the 
term, because they were the ideals of the first 
Americans of whom we have any definite knowledge. 

Annawon stood firm for the protection of the 
families and homes of his people, for the graves of 
his fathers and the freedom of his hunting grounds; 
and out of respect to the memory of his race and his 
valiant band, the last of the tribe of Massasoit, this 
work has been prepared, in the hope that it may 
aid in awakening a spirit of justice and fair play on 
the part of the sons of their exterminators that 
shall stand firm for a proper appreciation of their 
character as the early defenders of the principles 
we cherish; and of the part their friendship for the 


colonists, in the days of their weakness, played in 
laying the foimdation upon which succeeding genera- 
tions have estabUshed what we are pleased to call 
the American Ideal. 

The blind, unreasoning suspicion and hate of an 
earlier age ruthlessly and needlessly crushed the 
hopes and aspirations of a once free and friendly 
people beneath the cornerstone of the structure, and 
stained it with the lifeblood of a race. We cannot 
wipe away the stain, but we may avoid participation 
in the sins of the fathers, and make atonement for 
them, by standing firm for the ideals for which the 
children of nature, as well as the sons of their de- 
stroyers, have shed their blood; and by giving to 
the aborigines the meed of honor which is their due. 
Let them take their place in history beside the men 
of other races and other climes who have struggled 
against' the forces which would sweep them away; 
who have fearlessly bared their breasts in defence 
of their freedom and the right to transmit it to 
their posterity. 

The man dies, but the memory of his deeds re- 
mains as a priceless heritage to those who come 
after him; and the last defiant cry of Annawon to 
his followers is his contribution to history, his legacy 
to the world. In the cause of his ideals and ours, 
himianity calls to us to hear and heed the cry,